It had all happened so fast, much too fast. Unwell on Tuesday, into hospital on Wednesday. It was all bad news, he was told that he had only possibly a week or two to live. Confronted with his imminent mortality he decided to go to Hospice. He was worried about how his family would cope with him at home, he wanted to make sure that they would be looked after.
They had always done everything together as a couple, right from when they were teenagers. They had made all the important decisions together. But when it came to the decision to go to Hospice he had made it on his own.
He arrived on Friday afternoon and looked as if he would be with them for a while. He settled in quickly, was comfortable and relaxed easily into sleep that first night.
When she arrived back the next morning the deterioration was obvious even to her untrained eyes. The doctor agreed with her assessment, and she could hardly believe that they were having, “the talk.” “I’m worried that your time has become very short, given the very quick changes in your condition, you might only have days left to live. If there is anything you still need to do, or anyone you still need to see, now is the time.” People were contacted, close friends and the rest of the family arrived quickly.
By the next morning he was unable to talk clearly, but seemed able to understand what was said to him. “We’ll get you through this mate.” A rough afternoon ensued, followed by an agitated early evening, he continued to deteriorate very quickly, which distressed her greatly. He waited until she had calmed down, and was at peace, before he snuck away quietly.
In that moment her world changed, they had been together throughout their entire adult lives, and now he was no longer there. “What do I do now?”
She came back the next morning and it hadn’t quite sunken in, until she stepped into his room. The room appeared different, the staff had respectfully made it into a place of reverence, he looked so peaceful, so relaxed – the opposite of what had happened over the last six months. She nodded as the doctor tried to answer her questions, but she was in no state to retain the replies given.
She sought counselling which helped, but she had many questions left unanswered. She could not move on, but needed to for the sake of the children. Two months later she was still trying to solve the mystery, and arrangements were made to talk to the doctor again.
During the hour-long conversation questions were answered, “he had stayed true to himself right until the end, he was trying to do his job of looking after you and your family, he stayed alive through sheer force of will alone, until he couldn’t anymore. It had been very fast, even according to our Hospice’s experience. There will always be a part of him inside you and your children’s hearts.”
Afterwards she felt somewhat calmer, and the way forward had revealed itself with the faintest glimmer of light, thus she took her next step.