I am not much noted for exposing my emotions but everybody else has expressed theirs in such a classy way that I, as June’s husband feel a need to contribute to this website. June and I married in middle age: a second marriage for both but we had 32 successful years together. That counts.
Heather has described June’s decline in health and ultimate admission to hospital so I won’t go into that. I am very touched by her tribute to me on this site and I can say that we have been as one in our assessment of the situation and June’s needs, especially as regards summoning the family. That is because we did not shut our eyes to the reality of the case. Although there was quite a delay before we got the diagnosis and although in the first week I went through the motions of investigating nursing homes for her, I knew in my heart there would be no need.
When Carol, Pamela, Mike and Dorcas arrived, joined two days later by Shirley and April, that made along with Steve and Malcolm nine people to visit and sit with her – not too many at once and she needed breaks to be alone. She was very glad to see them and the singing, poetry reading and fashion shows have been described. At supper everyone gathered at the house, taking in turns to cook, so it was quite the family reunion time. I liked to go back to the hospital after dinner to be alone with her at the last of the day.
She had two visits from the Rev. Lee Simpson, a United Church minister whom she liked. She had accepted the reality that death was near. My son David, the chaplain at the oncology ward in Halifax, also visited but those were family visits, not pastoral.
In the last two days we never left her alone for long. I took the nights and slept on a cot in the room. On the second day I went for breakfast at 7.30 and when I returned at 8.00 she had died. Apparently it is often thus: the soul likes to leave when no one is there.
What really affected me most was when she became unable to speak. That broke me up and I can still get very emotional. But now there are many practical things to be done and I have a new phase of my life ahead which I want to make the most of.
~ Charles (Doug) Maginley