We are off! The first donations for chapter 2 has arrived, thank you, and perhaps it is time to remind ourselves why. I thought or rewriting the story and then I just thought of Helens post days after her husband died and there is not better way to remind each of the team why they are training and every follower who reads this blog why… over to you Helen….
Well, my Colin has gained his wings. What a hard road that man travelled! It’s kinda funny because at the beginning I promised him that he would never ever die anywhere but home. I meant every word, but, as time passed, it soon became evident that despite all the skills I had acquired, I could not cope with his total needs and I will always carry an element of guilt.
From a strong independent man who had the full respect and trust of his family, he was stripped by this horrible disease of every element and aspect of his personality. A personality that was so strong that everybody in the family (even though they had all formed separate units) trusted him to make financial decisions and hold all their important documents. We had faith in his every word. From almost the beginning though, it became evident that the kids would have to control their own paperwork and finances as Colin was increasingly confused and forgetful. The kids had to handle the financial decisions themselves and it was a very sad day when it became obvious that this was the only course of action.
The months I have recently spent with Colin have been very hard at times but I have also had some very good times as, despite that bitch of a tumour “Camilla”, his sense of humour always seemed to shine through and this made everything much more bearable..
All treatment for Colin was stopped in February and Colin was fine for a while except for his immobility and increasing confusion. At the end of May Colin started to have horrendous hallucinations which went on for several days and I had to call upon both our boys to help calm him down and reassure him that what he was seeing was indeed was indeed not reality – just illusions. Colin was admitted then to the hospice for the second time so that they could help alleviate the visions and reduce his constant state of agitation.
I have never been so grateful for anything in my whole life as I was for the offer of help from Garden House Hospice in Letchworth. They controlled his medication (it took 8 or 9 days to get the combination right) and then his health began a sharp decline – Camilla the tumour was on the march. We all realised that now his time was short but I was able to be Colin’s wife again and not just a carer. We spent quality family time and often cried together but, we also laughed – boy did we all do that! We still continued to take the mick big time. Tommy played the answer phone message from Colin requesting Tom’s immediate presence and then apologising because he (Colin) couldn’t find his phone! He had not realised he was using it!!! We all know that if the situation was reversed, Colin’s banter would be relentless
Colin started to lose his ability to swallow as well as many other abilities. About 2 weeks ago the food that he was offered was refused and when he opened his mouth to eat he was unable to chew and swallow he became weaker and weaker until he eventually became unconscious on Sunday.
On Monday he was put on the Liverpool care pathway, the most heart wrenching time imaginable. He had no nourishment or fluids and eventually fell into an unresponsive state of unconsciousness.
We as a family stayed with him constantly, he was never once alone day or night, it really strengthened our family unit beyond all of our expectations. This mortal man, Colin Smith, could not have had a more genuine love and adulation from his children than if he had been a god. We all love the man that was, not the shell of a man that Colin had become and I think that is why this type of cancer is so very cruel. When the end came for us as a family it was a release from a life robbing illness that had taken every aspect of Colin’s personality and dignity. We love and miss him more than any words can convey. He was always larger than life and always reducing me to side splitting laughter in every situation.