Palace of Care – White With No Sugar

Photo by Brian Patrick Tagalog on Unsplash

It all started over a cup of tea, that was when they first met. They were at the local dance hall almost 60 years ago. Introductions were made over tea and biscuits and then they danced together for the rest of the evening. He was a gentleman and delivered her safely to her parents’ home. That was the start of their courtship and four years later they were man and wife. They moved overseas and enjoyed the big city life for several years. They toured the whole country and had adventures in many places, even visiting a famous underground city. They made their way home and settled down once the first child was on its way. Followed soon by number two.

They bought a house with a garden in which she planted her favourite camellias. All sorts of colours and she tended the plants with care. Nourishing them with her efforts over many years. The children started school and she could start work again. She worked as a secretary making sure everything ran smoothly in the office, putting her natural organization skills to good work. He organized his workshop well, he liked things to be well planned out. Their strong organizational abilities were another thing they had in common, their children were never late for anything.

English tea was her preferred beverage. There was nothing like a nice hot cuppa to warm you up in Winter. It had always been her favourite drink right from childhood. She wasn’t surprised to find out that tea plants were a type of camellia. She had always wanted to visit a tea plantation to see for herself how similar the plants would be to her camellias, but life was too busy. Everything went according to their plan, their children grew up and left home. Then the grandchildren arrived and the good life improved even more.

The organized couple’s plan worked out well, retirement plans had been worked out long in advance and many days were to be spent in their beloved gardens. The camellias never looked better and responded well to her increased presence. What they hadn’t planned for was for cancer to disrupt their well-considered plans. She became unwell and lost a lot of weight. She needed more help with the gardening as her energy had left her.

The treatments didn’t help, and cancer spread throughout her spine causing severe pain. It caused him pain to see his wife melting away before his eyes. She needed help from the local hospice for her pain, and they started a syringe driver which eased her pain and nausea. Her breathing worsened and she was unable to catch her breath. They needed to call the ambulance to help and at times it would be hours before they would arrive. She didn’t want to go to the hospital but had to on several occasions.

People that they hadn’t heard from for many years started appearing out of the woodwork. Old friends who had not stayed in touch had heard that she was unwell, and they made contact with her. He was not pleased as he felt that these people weren’t visiting for her sake, but for their own sake. Where had they been all those years when she was well. Now that she is running out of time they appear and spend some of her precious time. He would’ve told them to bugger off, but she was much too polite.

It was morning tea time, one of their favourite times of the day. They chatted together as they had many times in their shared past, a nice serving of normality along with the little mince pies and club sandwiches. The tea was just the right temperature, “Ahhh, that tastes so good.” It felt right that their final time together would be spent sharing a cup of tea.

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