Peter died on the 12th of December 2020. We had been married since the 21st of December 1956. So, on the 21st of December 2020 we would have been married for 64 years.
I knew already by the end of 2019 that his days were numbered. Either his very advanced cancer would be the end of him, or his very serious heart condition would result in his death. When it came to the crunch, once he had developed cancer of the bone, his body was destroyed more and more. I knew, there was no way he could survive this.
I had really been warned well in advance that he would have to leave me soon. When the day came that he actually died, it did not come as a shock to me. I had expected it all along, and I think during the last few days of his life the whole family was aware too that he was about to die. The family gave him all the support he needed. He must have felt, that his children loved him so very much and did everything possible for him.
I knew, he wanted me by his side. So, the last few days I was always by his side, sitting in a comfortable armchair, staying with him the whole night through, sleeping in my chair. And very often, one of the daughters or our son, were staying with him too. He was never alone! When he could still speak a bit, he showed how worried he was about me. The children assured him, he did not have to worry, for they would look after me.
And all of them did their very best to make me as comfortable as possible. And then they left me on my own. I had not imagined, how being so alone would effect me. I thought I was pretty self sufficient despite all my disabilities. Over the coming months I discovered more and more, how much I had relied on Peter, doing all sort of things for me, that I was unable to do.
It was very stressful for the children, to constantly have to help me out with things I could not do. They thought, I should make more of an effort, to learn everything that I had neglected to learn by just letting Peter handle all these things that seemed to be too difficult for me.
The first signs of Peter’s bladder cancer appeared in June 2016 while we were holidaying in Berlin with our son. Actually, quite a few other family members were with us also in Berlin for part of of the time. We have a lot of memories of that last overseas trip.
So many memories when Peter and I, just the two of us, were travelling somewhere. Peter had been a very good driver for many, many years. He was able to keep his license right to the end. But he ended up with some parking difficulties, and he felt he could not drive very well anymore when it was dark. So he made sure, that he did not have to drive in the dark.
In bad weather his driving become frightening to me. I always went with him to all his medical appointments, and there were many, many. Mostly to his GP who had transferred to Corrimal, but over the years off and on he saw also a number of specialists, and he had quite a few hospital stays as well, when I was always keen on staying with him for hours and hours, commuting to hospital by bus or sometimes getting a lift from the daughter who worked in Wollongong.
There was a time, when Peter was first admitted to hospital, when both daughters as well as our son and son-in-law all went with Peter to the hospital and we all could stay with him for a while. We took pictures of it how we all are standing around his bed! This was in December 2016.
Over the past few years our son, who lives in regional Victoria, came to visit us quite often, for he is already retired and did make time for us. When Peter happened to be in hospital on one of his visit, Martin would drive me to the hospital and spend the day with me. There were also many opportunities when daughters Monika and Caroline as well as son-in-law Matthew could drive Peter and me somewhere for an outing or an appointment. That I could not drive anymore because of my very bad eyesight, was a difficulty that could be mostly overcome, by other people being able to drive me or Peter and me. Peter and I were often also very keen, to make use of public transport. At the time I was also still able to catch public transport on my own without Peter, when Peter was in hospital for instance. Peter and I we both had an OPAl card, that did get us everywhere by bus or train. I still have my OPAL card, but have not been able to use it for over a year. Will I ever be able to get onto a bus again? I don’t see, why not. After all, the busses have special room for wheelchairs, why should it not be possible to get onto a bus with a rollator?
It is getting late. I would like to put this into draft, but I am scared something odd might happen again. The draft might get lost, or for some reason I might not be able to find this writing in draft. Anyhow, I better publish it right away the way it is, so I can get ready for bed now. Sweat dreams? Well, I hope so. Good night.