Ths will mean nothing to you if you didn't read part one I published on Christmas Day, so if you missed it click here.
So the ship set sail Wednesday morning. 29 days after being told he had 3 or 4 days at the most my Dad departed this life. It was peaceful and quiet at the end, which says nothing of the immense fight he put up, which had the experts scratching their heads as to why he was still here. But this is not so much about Dad, or even those he has left behind, but the extraordinary care, kindness and love shown by the doctors and nurses at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford. I said in part one how they took to Dad, and that continued and grew. Monday morning Mum walked into Dad's side room to find one of the young nurses holding Dad's hand, stroking his forehead and talking quietly to him - just as Mum had been doing for the last few weeks. Tuesday night there was always a nurse with him, and although we got there a bit too late another nurse was holding his hand when he took his final breath.
Doctors and nurses are tough people - if you're dealing with the kind of things they do you have to be. The cardiac ward sees a lot of people, and a lot of deaths. You harden up to that sort of thing or it goes home with you and you never get it out of your head. I lost count at the number of nurses, male and female who shed tears this week. People who see people dying and distraught relatives day in day out were crying at the fight Dad put up, that he never complained, in fact he had to be convinced he was in need of pain relief most of the time, and the kindness and love of these people was such we now regard them as family. Even today, 48 hours later when we had to go back to the ward to get some paperwork signed there were hugs and more tears from staff we didn't see Wednesday. We may have lost a dad and husband, but my word we have gained friends and seen a side to humanity it is all too easy to forget exists.
And so I want to do something, both in Dad's memory, and for those wonderful people at the William Harvey. I normally go on a trip in May and this year I have decided to do a sponsored circum-navigation of Great Britain by bus - local bus as much as I can. What I am raising money for will be decided nearer the time, but certainly some comfortable chairs for relatives sitting at bedsides overnight is needed - we sat for 18 hours Monday into Tuesday on the only seats in existence harder than Anglian Scanias or First B7l's. There is never too much equipment in a hospital but equally these days there is never enough money to get it.
I'm going to be here in Kent for a bit yet, although I will be popping back up for a couple of pre-arranged appointments, one of which I'm quite excited about. In the meantime I'll finally have time to do what I wanted to do down here, and there is a lot to be interested in I can tell you.
Once again many thanks to all of you who have sent messages of condolence and support - I'm truly blessed with a great circle of mates.