Charles’ (Doug’s) reflections on the journey

Charles and June Maginley

Charles and June in February 2008

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


Comments

Charles’ (Doug’s) reflections on the journey — 6 Comments

  1. Charles,
    Your words, plus those of Heather’s, have enabled many of us to re-connect with loved ones, feelings or experiences of our own losses – in ways that we may have wished were possible during our own journeys.

    Such heartfelt expressions you have shared. Thank you for this.

  2. Doug, as I told you to your face I hold you in such high regard and am proud to be part of your family. You dealt with this heartbreaking situation with such regard for June’s well being and journey at each step of the way.
    We have arrived home safely and spoke on the way home of the love that surrounded June in her last weeks, and about your nightly routine to settle her into bed, and in the last nights to stay with her by her side. Such actions and commitment arising from love. We will see you soon again. Take very good care of yourself.

    Dorcas, and Mike and the dogs.

  3. Dear Charles,

    8 years have passed since we saw you and June in Halifax.
    Ivy and I are very sorry to hear about June’s passing. Please accept our deep condolences. Although we met her perhaps only twice, we always remember her as a very fine lady. May she rest in peace.

    Choy and Ivy

  4. Sad to hear of June’s passing. I never knew the depth of her illness. I recall sending you one of my poems and she showed great interest in it, and commented intelligently. I appreciate your focus on the next phase of life, Doug, for there are still things to do and people to keep in touch with. June is gone, “to know sin nor sorrow no more,” (quoting Cromwell.)
    Paul Maginley

  5. The timing of the visits from June’s other 3 children and a partner, her sister and a niece, all coming from Ontario and Alberta, was exquisite. Charles gets most of the credit for that by having good instincts, being realistic, and taking action quickly.

    Knowing the visits were the final ones, and having accepted what was coming, she enjoyed them as best she could. She was funny and loving and accepting of the indignities of her physical decline. Seeing the daily deterioration of her condition helped everyone accept the inevitable. Those visits, and the “celebration of life” they represented, were a great final gift to her and to all of us. Thank you Charles.

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