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Tuesday, 15th April is now a date I won’t forget. Devoid of meaning previously, it is now etched onto my family’s memories, indelible as dark black ink.

He had been ‘hanging on’, seemingly unconscious (though we had had signals that he could hear us such as squeezes of the hand, or a pair of briefly raised eyebrows) since Saturday morning when we’d received the phonecall to say we should go to the hospice quickly.  By Tuesday, the doctors and nurses were amazed, said he “shouldn’t still be here, medically”.

These same wonderful nurses at Manorlands Hospice, after a chat with me the day before to try to help my grief, had organised a visit from a Buddhist monk for dad, and it was just fifteen minutes after this meditation, calmness and reassurance that dad, holding a small figure of Buddha, passed away so peacefully. We wondered afterwards whether it was this time (or perhaps some kind of reassurance that there was something after death) that dad needed before he could let himself go. There is no way of knowing, but certainly it was with a calmness in his breathing that was not there previously that my wonderful, kind father, who helped others so much through his deep sense of justice, and who brought joy and gained so much himself from his love of music passed away at 61 years old from a very aggressive form of metastatic nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

I’ll miss you, dad, but I’m also so relieved that you did not suffer for long. We’ll all hold you with us in everything we do.

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