Byline: PAUL BRACCHI
SIR Paul McCartney spoke yesterday of the times he wept with despair during his wife Linda's two-year battle with cancer.
He talked frankly about the harrowing months after the illness was diagnosed.
And he told how a programme developed for members of Alcoholics Anonymous helped them find the 'inner strength' to cope with the trauma.
Sir Paul, 54, said: 'When anyone is diagnosed with a life-threatening disease, it's a terrible shock. You don't know what's hit you. But it gets you to change your priorities.
It focuses you on the things you think are important in life. That is about the only good thing you can say about it. It stops you messing around and wasting time on things that don't matter.' Linda, 55, had a malignant lump removed from a breast following a routine scan in 1995 and had months of chemotherapy. Her illness forced her to miss many events, including seeing her husband collect his knighthood from the Queen.
But the ex-Beatle revealed: 'Linda is amazingly positive and even though we had a couple of scary years there, touch wood, now she is very well.
We've got a great family.
The kids rallied round like nobody's business.' The couple have two daughters, Mary, 28, and Stella, 26, and son James, 20.
Linda also has a 34-year-old daughter, Heather from a previous marriage.
Sir Paul, interviewed on Sir David Frost's breakfast television show, told how he and Linda had found strength from the '12 steps to coping' pro-gramme issued to members of Alcoholics Anonymous, which a friend sent them. A step urging them to 'hand over' their fears and anxieties when they found it difficult to cope had helped them through the bleakest moments.
'The programme is very helpful with things like that; when everything is on top of you and you've really got nowhere to turn, "Hand it over, give it all up and say this is just too much for me, you know, I'm crazy, I'm crying, I'm weeping, I am frightened, hand it over. …