My beloved husband passed away on Aug. 20th. He stayed so very strong until the last few days. The events of the last few days are something my family will never forget. The previous week had been full of opportunities to say "good-bye"....to our 3 oldest granddaughters (ages 11, 12, and 13) who live in another state. The last visit together to our church, the one my husband Pastored until his "retirement" last January. Friends and family members dropping by for the unsaid but understood "last" visit. We could all see that Mack's health was declining rapidly. Hospica had been called in, and DH was spending more time "napping". And yet, he rallied with every visit, generously giving words of encouragement and love.....telling everyone how much they meant to him. Such a bittersweet time.
A little back story - our son and daughter-in-law have been married 18 years. They have struggled with infertility for many years, and have one amazing biological daughter who is 7 years old. They all live in Italy, but had arranged to come to the states for 2 months, mostly to spend time with Mack. They''ve been working with an adoption agency since January, and we were all hoping a baby might come into their lives before Mack passed away.
So, on Sunday 8/16, Mack laid down for an afternoon nap and woke up about 30 minutes later. He seemed confused, and was looking for children....looking for the baby. it was the first time I had seen him confused. We arranged for our daughter to fly home to be with us, and our son and daughter-in-law arrived from Tennessee to be with us . On Monday, a hospital bed was delivered, and Mack agreed to lay down on it "just for awhile". On Tuesday he stopped eating and drinking. His brother and sister-in-law arrived and his 88 year old mother came to kiss him goodbye. On Wed., the family gathered around his bed multiple times, thinking he was getting ready to leave. His favorite music was playing. We all whispered words of love and gratitude. Tears flowed as his heart would slow way down....and then he would rebound. We all lamented the fact that a new baby had not yet found it's way into our family.
Thursday, 6:00 am - I was so confused. All night long, Mack had episodes where his breathing would stop for 15 seconds, and his heart beat would slow down to 30 beats a minute. I didn't know how in the world he was hanging on. And then, our son arrived in the room where Mack and I were "sleeping". David told us that the adoption agency had called at 2:30 am and a birth mother wanted them to adopt their baby! He told us the the birth mother was in labor, 3 weeks early! At this news, Mack's eyes flew open, and his hands began to move. He tried to talk, with his mouth moving a mile a minute. Shortly after that, the social worker sent a picture of a newborn baby boy and Mack was able to open his eyes to see his new grandson! What had seemed absolutely impossible 24 hours before had come to pass. We all believe Mack heard and understood what had happened. Indeed, we believe it was the news he was waiting for!
Mack passed away about 10 hours later. Our son and daughter-in-law flew to Reno, Nevada to pick up their new baby and brought him home 5 days later. Mack's Celebration of Life service was held at our church this past Saturday. It was streamed live and congregations in Tennessee, Florida and Italy watched it on the big screen. I was told that more than 1,400 people attended the service. I share this only because I recognize the outpouring of love we have received is a tribute to the wonderful man I was married to for 44 years....he leaves a legacy of love. And love never dies.
Thank you all for allowing me to share the story...of the day my husband was healed, and the day our new grandson arrived.
With love and gratitude to everyone on this board who have offered words of wisdom, encouragement and concern.
7/12 - resection; 12 rounds folfox
CT/PET scans 4/13, 9/13 - NED
CT scan 3/14 - liver/LN mets
5/2/14- failed liver resection - peri. mets.
6 rounds of iri/avastin
8/26/14 - failed liver resect/HIPEC. dse. progression
9/14 - 3/15 - progression on chemo
3/23/15 - treatment stopped; working the bucket list