The phone call came on December the
31st 1997. With disbelief in my heart I listened again and again to the
message. How could this be so, Jane my beautiful friend, with me the night
before, had been found battered and bruised lying face down in her bath. Now in
hospital on life support, being prepared for the operation that would change
her life (and mine). I could never really find out why she was so battered and
bruised, she didn't know either but remembers the pain in her head to a point
where she blacked out and collapsed into the bath.
Doctors hesitant to operate were hoping to find a minor problem,
burst blood vessel maybe, and she would make a comlpete recovery in
weeks. After the operation, hailed as a success, cleaning out the brain bleed,
Jane recovered so amazingly within a few days she was asking me to come and
take her out of the hell hole (hospital) before she began suffering from
My refusal triggered anger in her, she signed herself out, arriving at my
front door needing a bed and some love for a few nights, or until her brother
arrived from down south to look after her recuperation. Jane's previous share
rental arrangement was no longer available, no room for her and her
But, hey where was my gorgeous blonde friend, the life and flirt of the party,
hated by women and adored by men? Who was this person in front of me with
shaved head and fresh scaring glaring at me, hands filled with bottles of
medication, staggering and tripping, tears rolling down her cheeks? Confused
My heart sank as I asked for "someone" to give me strength, my partner scowled
at me as I cuddled her and made her welcome. After all, her brother was
soon and would make arrangements for accommodation. We made the bedroom up and
sorted the medication into times and quantity and made appointments to see my
doctor, Dr Mary, a true angel. Dr Mary commented on Janes recovery from such a
procedure but asked we come back in a few days, so she would have time to
request the biopsy report. The few days felt like 12 months, Jane was not Jane,
we argued about everthing and anything. Life at this point was hell for
everyone. A senseless argument on the way to Dr. Mary for the second visit made
me determined that after we left I would contact her brother and find out his
Dr Mary walked behind us as we entered her surgery and quietly closed the door.
I was accompanying Jane because of her insistance, even though we argued
vehemently, in a week she had attached herself to me and had forsaken all
others. With hello's and how are you's finished and Jane's never ending
attempts at humour over, Dr. Mary began.
Jane sat silently listening, my eyes brimmed with tears as her final few months
of life were discussed. It was no broken blood vessel, or stroke as Jane had
kept on about, it was a malignant tumor, secondary skin cancer, and she was
staring death right in the face. As we stood to leave Dr. Mary said to
me "here is my home number, don't hesitate". We got almost to the car, in
stoney silence, whenJane clasped me hand, and squeezing it tightly pleaded "
don't let me die".
I called her brother and with quivering voice told him his sister was dying,
but in my nervous babble I had not heard him hang up the phone. So that was it,
it was her and I against all odds.
She turned against old friends and acquaintances, my home was her refuge.
During the next 6 weeks we put together a daily routine that saw me out early
mornings and home again at midday. A district nurse looked after the first 5
hrs and I did the last 19. I could not let her die, I had told her I wouldn't.
The second MRI in March revealed 4 more tumors and a warning from the surgeon,
Jane would become violent and unmanageable. He was so bloody wrong, completely
Jane's peripheral sight, like a candle with no air, was slowly
burning out and the drugs were destroying her body. By the end of May two
seizures had stolen the last of her sight and destroyed her will to live, it
was no longer "don't let me die", it was "when will I die". I was no longer
working, Jane no longer trusted anyone except Dr. Mary, who was calling to our
house once or twice a day, and myself. And no longer would we go out for
coffee, she loathed people asking questions or telling her she looked fit
We stayed at home, talking about what "it" will be like, when
will "it" be, and making me promise I would never take her to hospital when it
was time, she wanted to die in the room she had decorated, she wanted to die in
the house where she had found love and caring for the first time in her life.
My heart was crying for her, through all of the past few months never did she
complain, she always complimented, never criticized.
Monday morning, the last week of June, I took in her morning cuppa as was
normal, she looked at me and said " something is wrong, can you call Dr. Mary?".
Something was very wrong, Jane never regained consciousness, I spent the next
three days filling her room with soft music and gentle fragrance, sleeping
beside her at night, telling her it was okay to let go. Maybe she heard, maybe
not. Wednesday night I rang Dr. Mary to report on Jane's breathing and she
suggested she come to stay for the night.
Together we talked to her through the night, playing her favorite music, and
burning her special incense. Holding and loving her, and as the dawn began to
break it seemed like the first rays of light through the window were asking her
soul to ride away with them. Jane was ready, ready to go, ready to find out
what "it" was like.
Perfect peace at last.
Thankyou to Dr. Mary, a true angel.