Last night, I lost the love of my life. My sounding board. My go-to person. My Best Friend.
I had just finished eating dinner, with my two brothers and father in law, which included memorable chats about growing up and old friends, when I went into the room to trade places with Connie, bedside next to Jo. Earlier that day, the nurses had adjusted her to prevent bed sores and in a way so she was less on her right side – a side which had always been less painful for her and she would only choose to lay on at home for the last several weeks.
As I sat next to her, I talked of our kids – my favourite thing to do when with her – and also of my cherished memories and things I’d miss most about her. I knew she was listening and could hear me even though she had been sleeping fairly heavily for the last day. I carefully timed every sentence between each laboured breath she took so she would hear every word – as I knew things had progressed significantly that day and I may not have too many more opportunities to talk to my love – to ensure the last thoughts for her were happy ones – the ones I will always remember and treasure.
As tears dropped off my nose, down my cheeks and onto the side of the bed – I holding her right hand – courageously, she started to say words that were so very faint and hard to hear. As I tried to understand what she was saying, she bravely and slowly moved her left arm and hand across her body – eyes closed and found my other hand, anchoring herself, and pulled herself back onto her preferred right side – a place I had watched her lay on for the last several weeks in our bed, while we either chatted or I watched her sleep, often stroking her beautiful short hair – always appreciating how lucky of a guy I was to have spent a shorter than liked, but such glorious time with the only girl I had truly ever loved. She was now how she wanted to be – and so close to where she wanted to be – ready to say goodbye. Although it was so hard to accept the time had come, I knew my girl would soon be at peace.
Knowing I wanted her to be surrounded by as much love as she could – I called out to her mom, brothers and father in law, who all joined me bedside to send off our beautiful Jolene. As our girl took her final breaths – a single tear – formed in her eye, and ever so slowly ran down her precious cheek, then nose and onto the pillow.
It was beautiful. It was perfect. It was our Jolene.
We all knew our girl was truly at peace. So Loved. We said our last goodbyes and then all embraced – now knowing we would need each other more than ever, as she was so much of an influential and loving part of our lives. All of us. Always to be Remembered. Until we meet again.
Our girl now flies so very high and is welcomed with open arms by Papa, G.G. and her dear sister Amy. So very fitting as they are three people who all adored and loved Jolene so deeply – a feeling shared by so many of us.
In closing, we want to thank the compassionate support of Dr.’s Welch, Sugimoto, Fryer and Raja; the dedicated and loyal efforts of Bonnie, nurses and the entire team at London Health Sciences Centre; the friendly and empathetic Chemo team and staff at the Woodstock General Hospital; the kind and affectionate efforts of the Saint Elizabeth’s nurses; the loving and tender care of nurses and staff at the Sakura House Woodstock; and finally, all of you who reached out in her final days with stories and messages of love, support and encouragement. They were all read bedside, next to her, and I truly know down deep, helped prepare our dear Jo for the warmest send off that she could ask for. We are forever grateful for each and every one of you – for helping keep our girl “lifted” on her year and a half heroic journey.
Please feel free to share with family and friends who do not follow her blog. Finally, for those who like to plan, (especially as much as Jolene did J) – visitations will be held Thursday afternoon and evening, followed by a service on the Friday – further details to be shared shortly or found on the Dwayne Budgell funeral home website in coming days.
Sleep well Lovey. I’ll forever miss you.