A long needed update
It's been nearly 2 months since we have posted anything. As some of you know there is a reason for this. Toni passed away, surrounded by her loving family on May 25th.
The sun was shining, it was a beautiful day. We wheeled Toni's bed out into the beautiful hospice garden, in the glorious sunshine. I believe she could hear the trickling of the pond, and she could feel the warmth of the sun on her toes, she could sense the calm in her family and she decided she could leave us in the knowledge we had each other, she no longer needed to fight.
As a family we have spent so many hours at St Elizabeth Hospice. They not only went out of their way to look after Toni's needs but they went to great lengths to look after us too. Toni spent a total of 7 weeks at the hospice and over time I feel we got to know the care givers well.
John moved into the hospice to be with Toni 27/4 after a week of Toni being there, Mum and Dad joined them after about 4 weeks, taking it in turns to nap on various chairs and sofa's around the hospice. Tara and I would arrive around 10am and leave around 7pm, with just enough time to kiss our own children before they went to bed. Precious moments for all of us. I think we have all got to know each other so well during this time and I am very proud to have them as my family.
Things I have learnt:
Toni was way funnier than I ever remember her being. Cracking jokes when we all thought she was fast asleep. She has amazing friends that I have enjoyed getting to know and loved hearing their shared stories from. She was the strongest and bravest person I may ever meet. She was so very dearly loved by so many people.
I am a jigsaw puzzle champ. I like food for comfort. I have a supportive husband who is willing to drop everything to make things work and I have an inbuilt need to try and crack a joke no matter what the circumstances.
John is a whizz at Crosswords . He can fall asleep at any given moment. He loved Toni so very much and he is a surprisingly funny brother-in-law, I look forward to getting to know him better.
Mum is our rock. She finds it in her to organise us all at the very worst of times. Together with John she will make Toni's funeral just as amazing as she helped make their wedding. She is also great at making sure we're all fed, she can drink more (normally cold) coffee than I can beer.
Tara is a feeder and knows how to keep us going through the power of chocolate. She can not be forced into doing a jigsaw puzzle, she will do it when it feels right to her, giving me, Dad and John the opportunity to change everything she 'added' to the puzzle once she has had enough (she is not to be trusted around cardboard shapes). She is also great at manicures and I'm still convinced some of the patients thought it was her job.
Dad - he is the king! He watched over Toni every night for her last 2 weeks, tending to every eyebrow raise, every moan, every need she possibly had, He found the strength to talk when no one else could and there is no one else I can imagine having by my side during a time like this.
St Elizabeth Hospice is a magical place. Every consultant/doctor/nurse/HCA/cleaner/volunteer we came across were there because they cared. Every buzzer was seen to with a smile, every worried question from a family member was answered with compassion, every tear was met with a matching one from a warm and caring human. There are not enough Magnum ice creams to hand out to the wonderful staff there (and boy did we try!).
We now have to work on a new date for our bike ride, I will update you as soon as this has been agreed. Spoiler: there is a new team member!
We will also update you all on a special project our funds are going to go towards at the hospice.
We are forever grateful to the hospice and I am forever proud of my family.