I knew this day had been coming for a long time. When it actually happened I still felt relieved and 'Happy Sad': Happy: that my wife was out of unbearable pain and Sad: that she was no longer physically with us.
My wife died in the evening of a very ordinary day. I was physically and emotionally exhausted.
I called for the palliative care nurse who very carefully removed all of the medical equipment (intravenous pain medication) from her body. Moved my wife's body into a more relaxed position. She closed my wife's eyelids and spoke to her the whole time telling my wife that she was out of pain, that she was alright now. I will never forget how she went above and beyond. She was so respectful.
The nurse placed my wife's beautiful homemade quilt back over her body.
My friends stayed with with my wife's body while I drove home to tell my son that his mother had died.
My son and I had had the discussion about what to do on the day his Mum dies. He decided he did not want to see her body. I wanted to respect his wishes.
I asked him if he wanted to return to the hospice with me. He decided that he still did not want to do that. I wanted to make sure that he had not changed his mind and I am glad that I did not make any assumptions.
I rang my wife's parents and asked them if they wanted to return to the hospice and I met them there.
I let her parents have time with their daughter without me in the room. Then they afforded me the same peaceful time.
I was asked to remove all of her jewellery by the nurse. It was the first part of 'letting go' process as I removed her engagement ring and wedding band. The best part was that I held her rings with me as I left the hospice. It was actually reassuring.
I did not want any strangers cleaning up the room, so my wife's parents and I removed every personal item in the room, into bags. It was something practical and functional to do.
My father in law suggested that we left the quilt on my wife. It was a beautiful suggestion, for a lasting memory of my wife, finally free of pain. ❤