Week 2: Friday and Saturday Update.
My children and others have told me that I should continue with my blog, because it will be good for me to do so and because I write so well so for now I'll continue, but prob not everyday. I'm not sure life will be so interesting further down the track but we'll see how we go.
On Friday morning I received a phone call from the Hospice nurse who was looking after Roy to say that they had been unable to wake him and that they thought it would be good for the family to come as soon as possible. Phone calls were made and we set off to Palmerston. Aimee, Richard and Noah were there when we arrived and Tim and Yvette had advised that they would be there at 3pm having had to fly up from Christchurch.
Roy was asleep and seemingly unresponsive when we got there, although Aimee said he had been talking when they arrived and she thought he'd asked for me. The nurse was pretty sure he could still hear us and encouraged us to talk to him. We found this to be true as he reacted when Ryan read Psalm 23 and when we sang his favourite hymn for him - "By the sea of crystal". He also seemed concerned when Noah suddenly started crying, he became restless and had a frown of concern on his face.
Most of the time Roy had his eyes closed and when they did open they would rolled up into the lefthand side. The nurse and doc think Roy developed a brain bleed from a tumour pressing on his brain - hence his sudden rapid decline.
We told him that Tim and Yvette would be coming this afternoon and he seemed to relax a bit. When they arrived we again read from the Bible and sang the hymn and then all the children said their goodbyes to their dad.
Roy continued to decline with his breathing becoming more and more laboured - at times he sounded like he was snoring like a train - he was always very good at that.
At dinner time the children went out to get something to eat and have a bit of a break. The staff came to turn Roy but when they lay him on his left side he became very agitated and restless. We asked them to please turn him back as he was obviously in pain and discomfort.
As the evening progressed Roy's breathing became much more rattly and shallow and laboured, but we were advised to get some sleep as it could still take a long time. Some of the children were able to bed down in the family unit they have available at the hospice while the rest of us slept on the fold out couch they had in Roy's room and a recliner chair. At about 12.30 Aimee and I were both awake. Roy had become very agitated and at times seemed to almost try to get out of bed. The nurse came and gave him an injection to help him relax. She again advised us both to get some sleep which we both reluctantly did. Sometime later I suddenly woke up because it was quiet - too quiet. Roy had stopped breathing so I rang for the nurse which woke Ryan and Aimee - just as the nurse arrived Roy breathed out and then was still again. This happened about 4-5 times. We quickly called Tim and Joel and they arrived just as Roy breathed for the last time.
The sorrow we felt was overwhelming and yet we soon also felt a great sense of peace. The nurse came and told us to take as much time as we needed and she brought us cups of tea and cake. We even talked about playing a game of 'Up and down the river' one of Roy's favourite games and if he'd been able he'd have loved to play too, but in the end we just spent some time talking and remembering.
None of us have ever seen a dead body before and although it might sound morbid we were fascinated at how the body reacts after death and how white Roy's hands became to the point where the nails and the skin were a translucent white.
Eventually some of us went to bed to at least get a wee bit of sleep and the nurses came to attend to Roy's body and tidy things up.
In the morning we all at different times went to say goodbye for the last time. The man we have loved and respected was no longer there, he had long since departed to stand on the shore of the sea of crystal, dressed in his white robe with all the other saints.
Arrangements were made with the funeral director to come and collect Roy's body and we ourselves made the hardest trip home that I have ever made. Since being here life has been a whirlwind of activity with the funeral to organise and lots of people coming and going and lots of family time, sometimes with tears but also lots of laughter.
I am so grateful to my loving family and friends who are supporting me by just doing the things that they see need doing like removing the loan items we had received in case Roy was to come home, making meals, cups of coffee/tea, organise food or just being there to comfort when I need a shoulder to cry on.
Most of the time I'm doing ok, but little things set me off like seeing Roy's shampoo in the shower or opening the wardrobe for the first time since his death and seeing all his clothes hanging there. For 2 weeks now I have been living alone, but now it's real and the thought that I will never see him again this side of glory is the hardest thing to come to terms with. I still expect him to walk in the door with a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye and give me the wink he always had for me.
I know that Roy lives on in my heart and also in all my children and grandchildren and it is a comfort to see little glimpses of him in them from time to time. Life will be hard for a while I think, but I know that the Lord is watching over me, that He will guide my steps and that with that support and the support of those who love me I'll get through and one day I'll be able to say that I really am doing ok.
Thank you for your ongoing love, support and prayers.
Love and blessings to you all