‘Mrs D’ lost her long battle with Cancer passing away quietly in my arms early hours of 3rd Jan.
After a deal of thought I have decided to carry on posting these extracts from my ‘diary’ tracking the ups and downs of our time together till our ways parted.
I would like to thank everyone for reading and commenting on this blog.
I had the good fortune to spend almost 23 years of my life with a wonderful woman. I hope I have succeeded in conveying in this blog just how special she was
When we were given the news that she had lung cancer, we scoured the internet for information on treatment options and her likely life expectancy. It was terribly dispiriting to find that the doctor’s pessimistic forecast that her time was to be counted in weeks or a few short months was correct. We took strength, however, from the thought that these statistics were reporting the ‘average’ life expectancy. We determined that she would not be ‘average’ – that she, instead, would be the exception. We searched Cancer support forums online and read the ‘diaries’ of those few others in similar situations who had beaten the odds. That gave us strength and encouragement to fight on even in the darkest moments. if some people could do it, we thought – then we could too. And we did. We had nearly 3 years together after the cancer was diagnosed – instead of the 4-6 month the doctors and the statistics suggested was the best we could hope for.
Just as we gained strength and hope from other cancer victims and their carers who posted their stories online so too do I hope that others may read this blog and take some strength and encouragement from it. The end may be inevitable but you can postpone it for a while, making the most of your remaining time together
Though this is the last post in this blog, it will remain ‘live’ for people wishing to read and post comments
Although Anita has left me, I still have my memories of her – and in the unlikely event that I should ever forget what she looked like, I have photographs to remind me. And thanks to modern technology, I can listen to her voice whenever the mood takes me.
In the days following her death, I would ofttimes dial her cell phone and listen to her voicemail message – while it made me cry, being able to hear her voice made me feel less alone – less as if I had lost her forever. Fearful that there may come a time when her voicemail message would no longer be available, I had No 2 son ‘capture’ her message and convert it to an MP3 file for me.
You have seen photographs of Anita. Now hear her voice bring this blog to a close
They came from work in a convoy of cars to say goodbye. (see – http://tinyurl.com/yls3tva)
They were not alone in doing so. Many others did too – the new work friends she had made. But those who were with her in the beginning were with her at the end. She would have been pleased with that.
The crem was packed when I stood to say a few words. I had thought about what I wanted to say but whether I said what I had intended, I do not know. When the moment came, the words I spoke were from the heart not the head.
Afterwards, we moved to the Cricket Club. This was a compromise between our ‘Local’ pub and the swanky (expensive) new Sports Club favoured by Mrs D for her Wake. But in truth, it was the best choice. We held our Wedding reception in the Cricket Club. What could be more fitting then that we should mark the end of our life together at the venue where we had marked it’s beginning.
3rd Jan 2010
He came in the middle of the night to say goodbye. The ward was in darkness – all were asleep, apart from me watching over Mrs D.
He stroked her hand gently and softly called her name – and as if returning from a great distance, she responded to his call, shaking off the morphine-induced slumber that gave her blessed relief from the pain.
I left them alone while I went to make coffee – trying to remember in the maze of corridors where was the kitchen I had been shown on my guided tour of the hospice that morning after Mrs D had been admitted.
Before he left, we talked quietly – two men who had loved Mrs D.
With misty eyes, he thanked me for phoning him and promised to be at the funeral.
‘I’m going now. Thank you. For everything’
I held her a few moments longer, letting the tears freely fall, before going in search of a nurse to tell them the best part of me had died.
27th Dec 2009
In the end, it was a hollow victory.
It was a triumph of sorts – an achievement the doctors no doubt thought impossible when they told Mrs D back in July that we had reached the end and she now had only days left to live and to make arrangements to see friends/relatives as soon as possible before it was too late.
And in truth, in the days leading up to Xmas her health deteriorated so much and so rapidly that there were times that it seemed she would not make it through to the next day never mind Xmas. But she rallied – as she has on so many occasions before. When Xmas day arrived she made one final effort. She sat at the head of the table and listened to the excited voices all talking at once. She didn’t have the strength or the will to eat any of the food in front of her, or to talk. But for an hour or two she soaked up the sights and sounds of her family enjoying the day, gathering some more precious memories to store away and be brought out again and replayed as she lay in her bed back home.
Perhaps she’s replaying those memories now as she lies there sleeping – that ‘little death’ a welcome reprieve from the pain that wracks her body when awake until the morphine gives her a few hours of blessed relief in oblivion? For those precious memories have cost Mrs D dearly. In the 2 days since Xmas what little strength she had has left her. Her breathing so slow and shallow, she looks peaceful now as I watch over her – checking for sign of life, and quietly weeping – fearful that the moment will come and go and I will not be there to hold her when she finally breathes her last
15th Dec 2009
Only 10 more sleeps till Xmas.
Mrs D has been keeping herself occupied the last few weeks shopping on line – not being able to get out of bed has not prevented her from filling our spare room with presents to be distributed on the day 🙄
It’s been a long time coming, and way back in July when we were told she had just days (possibly weeks, but certainly NOT months) left to live, the thought that she might still be here to see one final Xmas seemed like a wild – if not impossible – dream.
Only 10 more sleeps. Tantalisingly close. Today though it looks like Mrs D may fall at the final fence.
It’s been a long, long day – and it’s only 7.30pm
McMillan Nurse, District Nurse, G.P. have all been round this morning.
Mrs D awoke shortly after midnight, in pain (as usual) but this time the pain was compounded by an inability to breathe – which led to a panic attack (her and me both), making the breathing problem even worse.
She is very close to the end now. We both know this. She has lost so much weight, she looks like a corpse clinging to life. Today, though, there was no life in her eyes – only pain.
The McMillan nurse has alerted staff at the Hospice to be ready if I need to call them during the night to come and fetch her.
In the meantime, Mrs D has been asleep since mid-morning and I have spent the day watching over her – checking every so often that she is still breathing.
Only 10 more sleeps to go. Sadly, I have a great fear that while 2 of us may sleep tonight – only one of us will awake in the morning !!!
13th Nov 2009
‘How’s Anita?’ said the girl behind the counter.
‘Not too good’, I replied
‘Haven’t seen her in here for ages’, said Sunita
‘No’, I replied. ‘She doesn’t get out much, now. She’s bedridden’
‘Shame’, said Sunita.
‘It could be worse’, I said. ‘At least she’s got folk popping round now and again so she’s not just stuck with my company all the time’
‘Was that a visitor you had the other night?’, said an auld biddy in the queue behind me.
‘Hhmm’, I said – trying not to get dragged into conversation with a comparative stranger.
She was not to be put off