Death Came Swiftly In The Morning
Waiting For Death
I have written previously about a friend who was "waiting for death" in http://personapaper.com/article/48047-waiting-for-death and http://personapaper.com/article/48054-end-of-life where I wrote of a friend's cancer diagnosis, then the "no hope" message.
This friend was homeless and had lived in his car for 10 years, couch surfing when it was cold. He ended up surfing to our house when he could no longer look after himself and stayed with us for 10 weeks. Last week it became obvious that he was getting near the end, with bad headaches, confusion and physical symptoms of weakness and incapacity. The health service was able to provide some medication that we could give him for pain but it seemed obvious that he was soon going to go past the point where we could look after him any longer. A hospice place was found for him and I took him there last Friday. He knew he was going in and was relieved because his symptoms were becoming a great burden to him.
He went in on Friday evening and while he could not initiate conversations, he was able to agree or continue conversations that were started for him (for instance in the interview with the consultant). I had talked with him about what he wanted to happen after he died, including his funeral and will and took the end of life booklet I created for him with me. The hospice locked it away - which surprised me. By Saturday, he was on continuous morphine pump and was no longer communicating. A number of his friends went up to see him - until that point they had not believed he was dying. He stayed that way until last night when he became peaceful. The hospice called us this morning to say the end was near but by the time we got there, he was gone. They told us he had had a peaceful end.
The hospice said the document was a "living will" and they normally only released it to the solicitor. Our friend had no solicitor, so they are to talk to the social worker about it. Funerals in Northern Ireland usually happen within 3 days of death, so it was a good job I kept a copy of his funeral wishes. Another friend will arrange the funeral and he will get exactly what he wanted. Unfortunately, we have been unable to trace his son, so he is likely only to hear of the death after his father's burial, maybe not for along time after!
Death Came Swiftly
10 weeks may not seem swift, however, he only started really deteriorating last week and went into the hospice on Friday. He spent less than a week there and most of that time he was unresponsive, so his true farewell was when he left our house. A real gentleman, with no complaints, always cheerful and with many friends, his possessions fitted into two plastic bags.
Farewell friend, may the path be smooth ahead.
Image Credit » https://pixabay.com/en/crow-raven-bird-black-animal-828944/