I rang a friend of mine today who I haven’t spoken to in a few weeks to ask about his father who had been unwell with cancer.
Unfortunately I learned that his father passed away just over two weeks ago. You sense in my friend’s voice that this was something he was still coming to terms with.
His dad retired from work about two years and was looking forward to spending his new found free time on a number of pursuits including holidays in a caravan he owned in Cornwall.
It was a shame, therefore, that he never got enjoy these experiences as a lifetime of smoking took its toll.
At the beginning of the year he was told in the presence of my friend that he had three to six months to live. This is something I would always try to keep from the person concerned if possible as this gives them a mental alarm clock and the belief that there’s nothing that can be done.
People take the news of this magnitude in different ways. Some will make plans to do as much as they can and enjoy themselves, others will fight it and then there are those that retreat into their shell and wait for the inevitable. Others will go into denial.
Without actually seeing this for myself it seems my friend’s father sadly fell into the final category.
There were some concerted effort amongst the family to carry on as normally as possible with plans for the annual summer trip to Cornwall brought forward but he wanted to wait until he was better which seemed unlikely.
Over time his condition deteriorated and it is believed that he finally accepted that he wasn’t going to get better which is when he decided to take some action. I was going to go to Cornwall whatever the consequences.
Surprisingly he brought a car even though he knew he couldn’t drive it and mass family outing was organised. For three weeks he was in his personal paradise: the location he loved with the people he loved. He was sharp, perky and seemed in better health than for some considerable time. He’d lost a lot of weight but was happy.
Eventually the time came to return home and journey of six hours turned into one of 10. Even under these circumstances he was cracking jokes and singing and having a great time.
Finally they returned home and got out of the car and walked to the house. He took a single step into the house and had a heart attack on the spot.
Attempts to revive him failed and he sadly passed away.
It is our belief that once he’d achieved his dying wish of the holiday with his family around him his journey was over. Once home all he saw ahead of him was deterioration and his days bedridden at home or in hospital.
It was a moving experience to hear this from my friend and to learn it all this way was very emotional as I’d known them both for many years.
He was a man of dignity and integrity and so wanted to go. He knew his time was up and was ready for it.
He will be greatly missed by those that knew him.