Thank you all so very much for your kind words left in the comments on my last post. Thank you also for the prayers which you have been offering up, the good thoughts you have sent us and the other ways you have been helping. To know you have been there with us in the last few days has been a comfort to us and I thank you all.
As you will know from my post last week, Man was in his final days. Sadly last week he died, not that long after my last post. It was very peaceful and quiet and was, I imagine, as alright as these things are ever going to be.
We didn't expect that Man would be passing away so soon, we hoped that he had more time left to enjoy his new nursing home and being nearer to his grandchildren. I don't think that Man ever really recovered from his stroke, or more accurately the after effects and what that meant for him. Not to be able to walk on his own, to explain what he wanted or to understand that there were things he could no longer do was very hard for him.
So to lose Man has been a big shock and very sudden, but, just perhaps, it is easier for him rather than continuing to struggle. I know that some people disagree when you say that a loved one is in a better place, and for some, especially the young, that is not the case. I think though for Man he is in a better place than he had been and for us that is a comfort. He wasn't able to live as he wanted so perhaps, for him, this is easier and kinder.
It isn't better for us of course and it is very sad and will take a lot of coming to terms with, but we are as OK with it as you can be I think. Not because we don't care, we care very very deeply, but we also know that he wasn't well and sometimes it is OK to move on.
Everyone in the home seemed to love him and told us about the stories he shared, and even on the day he died many of the staff came in to say good morning to him. He was obviously very well liked by all he met.
At Christmas we saw Man and although he wasn't well, or even as some family have repeatedly said the he is "fine" we didn't think that he was this close to the end. So it has been a big shock to us to go from no thoughts of death to dying in just one week. Everything was quite sudden, when I posted my last post we had been to see Man the day before and were putting things in order with work and so on to go back to see him, but got the call to come now. We went to Man immediately, and then only left him for a few hours to sleep and eat and stayed with him until his death.
I suspect that we are yet to come to terms with it. As one friend put it, you run on adrenaline for a while and I think we are doing just that. In fact of course we have been that way since August now so it is going to be a big shock to find out what our new normal life is after so much turmoil.
Man lived a good long life, was happy and did lots of things with his life. Man was very happily married to a woman he loved until she died nearly 9 years ago, had two lovely sons, one of whom I was lucky enough to marry, and had two grandchildren who he was very proud of. One of his neighbours was also kind enough to tell us how proud he was of his two sons as well, and although he might not always have told them, he certainly told the neighbours and everyone else. That was especially lovely to hear.
I spent a lot of time with Man in the last few years, taking him to medical appointments, seeing him in hospital, and latterly going in to hospital to try and get him to eat and to help him decide what things to take with him in his move to the nursing home. I finally persuaded him that he didn't need wellington boots or saucepans and that he couldn't take every single thing he owned. We compromised and pared things down and while it wasn't "home" if you looked around Man's room in the nursing home you would have known that it was Man's room. It had all the right elements of him and his life right there.
Man and I had our ups and downs, mainly because we are/were both such strong characters when we got an idea into our heads. I think that actually means we were quite alike, and probably therefore understood each other quite well. Man was certainly tenacious and achieved a lot with his life despite not having the easiest childhood. The war was of course not kind to anyone and his own family circumstance was difficult with his father being away a lot. Despite all of this Man did well at school, got a good job and continued to study at night school and went on to do very well in his chosen profession.
We will remember many things about Man. Not least the stories of the "tough skin" on a fruitcake - turned out to be a piece of greaseproof paper he had eaten through - or the invention of the "shisky". A drink accidentally made out of whiskey and sherry at the same time. History does not tell if it was drinkable or not and I am not going to recreate it to find out!!
These and many other stories will be remembered, retold and told at his funeral.
Man leaves a good legacy, a family, who loved him and two very good chaps in his sons. He had lots of great experiences, travelled widely in Europe and the UK in his younger days and continued to do many things he enjoyed for a very long time. Including always increasing his tool collection and his collection of books about historic houses.
I think that Man had a life well lived and that is all you can ask for.
At the end of this, while Man and I may have disagreed about many things, in the end he has given me two very great gifts indeed for which I will always be thankful. Firstly I have the love of one of his sons, and secondly the privilege to have been with him as he died because that has laid to rest a lot of troubles and demons that I have had in my own life. Although I am so very sad, a lot has healed for me to see a death and be there for his death and with him from difficult times that I have had in the past. So even as he was dying, he was still giving and that is an amazing thing.
I will leave you all there for now. Five On Friday will carry on and I will be back properly in a few weeks when we have had the funeral. I do have a couple of book posts to write (I read a lot while Hubby has been driving us up and down the motorway and while sitting with Man) which I will do and will share and I also have a post about a Christmas swap that I will share. Most of all Man would have wanted us to go on, so although we might not be at full speed, I am trundling still, and so keeping blogging is part of my way of doing that. The funeral will not be for probably another two or three weeks for various reasons and I cannot sit and do nothing for that long. So please don't think me heartless if I do carry on.
I know that some of you have also lost loved ones recently so I know you will understand and will understand that when I can blog and live and carry on and Hubby can go to work and carry on doing his things we will do just that. We have to live, and so do those of you who have lost your dearest ones. It isn't that we don't care, it is that we have to keep going. Bitter experience in the past has taught me that. So if I can say one thing to you that this has taught me. Darned well live while you can!
Thank you all again.
With much love to you. Amy