Last Words

Jackie Sherwood

My husband, Bill died at the age of 62 on December 26, 1999. Bill had never been sick until October 1994, when he was diagnosed with lung disease. As the disease progressed, Bill just got weaker and frailer as each day passed. In June of 1996, his doctor told me it was just a matter of time, maybe a year. I could not bring myself to tell Bill what the doctor said, but I told our friends and family. Most of our friends just disappeared. His family just forgot him, except his mother, but she was in denial. She felt a child should outlive the parent. I needed support from someone, but was not to be.

I made the living room into a hospital room and that was all Bill saw for 4 years, except for one week in July of 1998 and one week in July of 1999 in the hospital.

Six months after the doctor told me about Bill, I told him what the doctor had said and he was grateful I told him. He had things he wanted to tell his children and wanted to be in control of getting his affairs in order. His children didn?t call or visit; they were always busy. Even when his death was near on Christmas his daughter told me, she didn?t want to associate Christmas with death. She arrived 4 hours after his death. His son showed up 2 hours after his death and the body had not been removed from the house and he wanted me to read the will. Neither one viewed the body or said goodbye to their father.

I cared for Bill 24 hours a day and every morning I held my breath until I seen he was still breathing, I just didn?t want to let him go. In Sept.1999, I went to our doctor and he took one look at me and said it is time for Hospice, no matter what Bill said. Bill was a very modest person and he did not want strangers coming to the house to check on him. But the Hospice nurse and the counselor were the best thing that could have happened for us.

Bill was not a religious person; he had faith in God in his heart. The days before Christmas 1999 he was sleeping most of the time, but on Christmas day he looked up and saw his mother and myself watching over him and he said, "I am at Peace" and he just glowed. He started reaching out to someone only he could see and then he slept more peaceful than he had in months. The next morning he passed away with his mother and myself at his bedside at home, as he wanted.

I went to the Hospice grief group after Bill passed away and they saved my life. The group I was in still meets several times a week for lunches and dinners and it?s like having a new family that cares.

I know Bill is waiting for me 'just beyond the moon'.

Jackie Sherwood

You can send email to Jackie Sherwood at [email protected]

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Anniversary date - 12-26-99
Date of post - 6-1-02

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