Friday 2 March 2012

What The Marie Curie Charity Means To Me...

It was a dark and very dismal night at the end of October 2009. David was finally succumbing to the ravage of the cancer that he had fought so bravely for 18 months. There is always hope, but sometimes you do have to accept the inevitable. We had done that a matter of weeks before. Extremely difficult but all ‘part of the process’ as he used to say. The process of bereavement. David was diagnosed with terminal oesophageal cancer in May 2008. Initially he fought hard and long against the disease, amazing us all at how well he coped with not only the illness but the treatments too. It took well over a year and numerous procedures, treatments and operations for his mental and physical stamina to finally begin to wane. David only became immobile during his final week. I was fortunate enough to have reached a stage with my business where I could let go of the reins and take the time out to nurse my husband around the clock. It was something that we very important to me. A need that I had to ensure that I personally tended to his every requirement. Being a carer, under any circumstances is tough. But however hard and tiring it is, when it is for someone you care for and love you somehow manage to find that miniscule amount of energy left to do what you need to do. We had an amazing team of family and friends around us. But groups of people such as this that are stricken with emotion are not really capable of offering the support you need. This is when Marie Curie Nurses came into my life. It was all arranged via our local surgery that we would be allocated a nurse whenever possible during David’s final nights. By this time I was far too tired and disengaged to refuse any form of help or support. I knew accepting the help of this wonderful organisation was the right thing to do for David for me and for my family as a whole. ‘Mary Poppins’ arrived on my doorstep. Oozing serenity and peacefulness. Her warm smile, kind eyes and tactile nature immediately brought comfort to me. It may seem a strange thing to comment upon, but she had the most perfect make up. She looked so very neat in her uniform. She was so very collected in her actions, so tranquil in her mood, she simply gave me confidence to face each dark hour that loomed ahead. I was so at ease with her I was able to drag out the questions I needed and wanted to ask. ‘Can David hear me?’ ‘Can he feel my touch?’ . I was even able to ask my most-dreaded question… ‘How do I know when he is actually dying?’ ‘What are the signs that death is imminent?’. She answered me candidly but with great consideration and in her choice of words. She told me exactly what I needed to know, no more, no less. Her judgment of me as an individual, of the nature of my family and the mood of the household was impeccable. Her experience shone through, lighting the way for us during this desperate time. The first night she came David was still conscious and she was able to see a glimmer of his very self-deprecating sense of humour and his gregarious and fun nature. That meant so much to me. She returned a day or so later when David had slipped into a coma and was in his very final day or so. She helped me care for him physically, with great respect for him and for my need to do things. She ensured I eat a little, have a cup of tea and took time out for some rest even if I was unable to sleep. She gave me strength. I thank ‘Mary Poppins’ and Marie Curie from the bottom of my heart for being there and doing the job they do, so wonderfully. I thank them for aiding me in making David’s final days and hours comfortable and dignified. I thank them for helping me to cope and remain focused on the things that mattered to me most at that point in time. David passed peacefully in my arms surrounded by love, calm and hope for the future. ‘Mary Poppin’s’ gave me an understanding of life and death that I had never had before. I had indeed had time to prepare for this, but how does one prepare for something so dreadful? She was a very big piece in the jigsaw. Our many conversations helped me to have hope for the future. To know that happiness could once again be a part of the lives of me and my two little boys. And she was right. Somehow when I was ready, I was able to leap into the future and do what David wanted and asked me to do. He wanted me to live a happy life and to have a partner and he wanted his boys to have a dad present….these are all his very generous and selfless words. He Well I did it. I am remarried to the most wonderful man, Jonny. He and my boys adore one another and we are an amazing family unit. My little boys and I carry our fond memories of David forward into our future. He will always be a part of our lives, even though he is not here in person. I support Marie Curie whenever I can. I want other people to be the recipients of this utterly amazing service this charity provides. When Jonny and I married we asked for donations to the charity. I now donate on a monthly basis directly funding the nurses. I am wearing with my daffodil with pride as I write this, as I truly understand and endlessly value the Marie Curie Charity. Without them, and specifically my ‘Mary Poppin’s’ I really don’t think I would have come through this so well.

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