Monday, 9 August 2010

So it is

Thursday week ago my darling husband was helping the chap who comes to sit with him, (so I could go and have some time for myself for 2 hours without stressing about leaving him on his own),  load a truck with timber. On Monday at 16:20pm he had died at home, not in bed, having managed to climb the stairs on Sunday night having enjoyed short visits by his daughters and future son in law.  We were all meant to be going to a friends daughters wedding.  DH did not feel up to it.  The girls came back in the evening and showed him photos of Tess in her wedding dress.  He appeared to sleep well overnight, I was down stairs and he woke in pain anddesperately wanting to get out of bed, (he suffered with panic attacks about not being able to get out of bed), I assisted him to put some clothes on, was able to give him some pain relief,  and began to walk down the hall and to the stairs, he made it somewhat more slowly than usual, about halfway down, he became to weak and I almost carried him to the chair, too hot near the fire, I moved him to the lounge.  I rang his younger daughter who came down, and than we rang his older daughter who was at work and at a very busy time for the company.  Her finance drove her down.
So surrounded by his girls, our dog and cat, he was able to communicate only by raising his eyebrows, for a few hours he slowly wound down, his breathing stopping.  It was so peaceful, he was in no pain, and he was in our living room with sun streaming glistening of the water, snowcapped mountains he loved in the distance, and his faviourite flowers in bloom, the wattle trees had really put on an amazing show in our garden.  Almost every wattle tree (many different types) were in flower or coming into flower all at the same time; not usual for them.
His body stayed in the house till noon the next day, giving his son-in-law who was unable to come down on Monday a chance to say goodbye.  We all felt a real sense of having time to spend with his body, a real appreciation that he was dead, and his spirit was no longer in his body.  There was no one wanting the room, or a feeling of inconveniencing anyone.  The Minister DH wanted came and we had our family service just us only 5 people and DH's body, a very special time where we could grieve as we needed and be as we desired.  Tears, laughter and so much love. 

The dog and the cat each in their own ways were able to say good bye too.  The dog licking and resting his head as DH was dying and then licking his hand and face when he died.  DH patting Toby  when he was near while he was able too.  Murphy chose to not be in side until later in the day.  Still not coming near but the next morning he was laying on DH's very cold body and stayed there all through the service.  It was quite amazing as he usually lies right near the fire...he was saying his goodbyes, I am sure.

The funeral ladies came and were so amazing and we were given as much time as we needed to say our very final goodbyes to DH's body.  DH's body was taken by the lovely Donna and Michelle to be looked after and attended and then cremated. It was DH's wishes that we did not accompany his body, and we all felt that our private service at home was so much more special for us than at a crematorium would have been.

The service we had at home, gave us an outlet and we all felt able to move forward with planning the Celebration of DH's life and his wake.
Instead of the traditional order of service photo of the persons face in a oval shape the three of us agreed that a photo of DH with us, our dog and cat, would be wonderful.  It made everyone smile.
Each of his daughters spoke of their love, their fathers gentle nature, his generosity, his unconditional love and forgiving nature.  His 7y/o Grand Daughter stood in front of more than 100 people and read her words about her wonderful, clever and loving Grandpa.  I did his Eulogy and I can not recall what I said (fortunately Future son-in-law was videoing) so I will get to hear it.   A couple of friends spoke about their feelings and friendship.  We had music his favourite Beethoven's Violin concerto which we played at the beginning, a duet It's time to say good bye, and we were trying to find a jazz piece that would make people smile prior to leaving the church, but unable to ..we all agreed on Barry Whites. You're my everything!  (we looked at the words and it said it all really.  It was bright and people smiled.
The one thing I kept hearing when I rang people to let them know that DH had died was what a special and humble man he was, a true Gentleman.  (he was also quite stubborn at times) just to let you see I am not wearing rose coloured glasses
My father and his partner came from NSW and have been amazing in doing so much for us and with my brother who traveled from Western Australia to attend they took over the running of the wake to ensure that we need not be concerned and how appreciative we all were for this.  I can not thank them enough for it.
As we live near a small village and catering is not available, we asked friends to bring a plate to the wake. 
Plastic table cloths with smiley faces, balloons and butterflies chosen by Grand Daughter.  Wattle flowers down the middle and in vases around the wall. A true celebration of life!  DH did not want flowers so instead people donated money to charities that DH supported. 

I ache with loneliness and missing him some times.  I know he is with me still.  I walk about our garden and feel his presence.  I look at the bird table, the hen coop, the fencing.  I smile with gratitude and a sense of love.  I sit on the bench he made and feel his presence.  He is physically not with me, and that is a thing that only time will assist me to manage. It is still very early days and the tears come so easily.  I have only ventured into town twice and kind words of sincerity over DH's death make me cry. A friend said I should not hide these tears, as those who cared for us truely understand.

Having the dog, cat and hens is so good.  I have to get up each morning and tend to their needs.  (the cat would drive me ga ga, if he was not fed).  I still have four trees that must be put into the ground or at least in pots for this year this week.  Of course there are all the papers to sort through and treasures for his family to have.  There is no rush however I understand it helps for hid daughters to have his treasures near, and some have no meaning to me, with the exception that they have been in our home and I see them.  These things are not mine.  They are his families. 
Thankyou to all of you who have held us in your thoughts, prayers and hearts.