Yet more Grief…

My Dads friend Stephen, who I’ve known for quite a few years now, is in the final stages of Liver Cancer (FUCK Cancer), we both went to see him in the Hospice he is staying in, it was difficult to say the least, I’m getting far too familiar with seeing people I care about succumb to that shitty disease. He was very heavily medicated when we saw him, a lot of Morphine or I’d imagine the pain would be unbearable… The place he is staying in is beautiful I have to say… Walking in you are greeted by an eclectic mix of old Victorian and modern buildings welded together in neat ways..the grounds are immaculately kept, flower beds, marble statues..this Serene Calm quiet that you know is unnatural because this is a place people go to die.

Walking down to his Ward I think I recognised one of the Nurses working there, I went to school with her, or she was a year below me, we both gave each other a longer than expected look as we tried to figure out where we knew each other from, but I didn’t stop to ask… It was neither the time nor place for such small talk… But I really think those nurses (End of Life Care Givers as they are known) are Heroes with a capital H, they wait hand over foot for the patients, looking after every single need with a smile, it must take amazing strength to work in a place like that… Seeing so many fade away, young and old. I know I couldn’t do it, a job like that would break me in half. Anyway… when we got to Stephens Ward, it was upsetting to see how far he had deteriorated, another very old man in the ward was constantly wailing in pain as well, a really anguished sound… Which upset us all I think… So Stephen asked to go and get something to eat and drink in the Canteen.. So we got him a Wheelchair and I pushed him up to where the staff, patients and visitors alike all eat together, the food was cheap, but well made… And Stephen, although he struggled with his speech from the medication, was as sharp as ever… A rogue to the end, I love rogues of all sorts, they are my kin. He thinks he is only in the Hospice for a few weeks to recover before leaving, I don’t think… Given how much Morphine he has to take for the pain.. That he has accepted that the end is coming, or if he has, he’s keeping it buried under this pretence, which means both my dad and I are forced to play along with the illusion, which really fucking breaks my heart, I hate having to do that, a white lie they call them?, they still feel as rotten, I would rather have just been honest about it, but we all deal with the end in our own way, this was Stephens and I respected that.

I’m going to stay with Stephens two sons at the weekend for a night to see how they are coping with all of this, I can only imagine what they are going through, they’ve become good friends of mine over the last few years, Salt of the Earth Lads who always have your back. I will be with them when the times comes, more scars for the heart.

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