Stepping Stone’s first death

Vic was the first Stepping Stone Hospice death.

I was clearing up some filing at the office when I came across Vic’s case notes. Tears ran down my cheeks when I read the observation of the Hospice nurse…

21.11.2012:- Pt gradually getting weak but stable. Pain controlled and up and about

20.12.2012:- Very weak but stable. Pain controlled

3.1.2013 Pt experiencing obstruction. Started on SD (Syringe Driver). Buscopan, Zantac, morphine over 24 hours. Prognosis short

8.1.2013 Pt seen by Dr Sue, very weak. Actively dying. Not eating or drinking. Vomiting much better. Pt still responsive even in deep sleep. Continue SD

11.1.2013 Pt terminally weak but stable on SD. Actively dying. Family up to speed with progress

18.1.2013 Pt R.I.P this am. Peaceful and comfortable at home

Vic’s suffering had been reduced to a couple of lines. A couple of words. No mention of her vomiting blood or did I forget to mention it to the nurse? No mention of her being unable to breathe because of the pain. “Pain controlled”…

The pain of Vic’s death is as fresh as it was a year, a month and 11 days ago.

We have now lived many Hospice deaths. Some have been friends, some strangers that became friends and some strangers that remained strangers. I feel the pain of the mothers whose daughters died in the In-Patient-Unit. I held them and comforted them, but I could not take their pain away. I tried to prepare them for the emptiness that would follow the funeral…the guilt, the anger, the loneliness.

I know that our Nursing Sisters are compassionate and caring. I know that I would want to die in the Unit. I know the staff will light candles to shield me from the harsh fluorescent light…. I hope that Lorraine Msini will softly sing Amazing Grace as I end my journey on earth. I have truly learnt that death is not the enemy. Living is.

I no longer cry for those who are dying. I cry for the ones who are left behind. I cry for the emptiness I have seen in mothers eyes… the raw, undiluted pain… I know that when I see them in a few months’ time they would have learnt to mask that raw, undiluted pain and emptiness in their eyes.

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I am a sixty plenty wife, mother, sister, grandmother and friend. I started blogging as a coping mechanism during my beautiful daughter's final journey. Vic was desperately ill for 10 years after a botched back operation. Vic's Journey ended on 18 January 2013 at 10:35. She was the most courageous person in the world and has inspired thousands of people all over the world. Vic's two boys are monuments of her existence. She was an amazing mother, daughter, sister and friend. I will miss you today, tomorrow and forever my Angle Child.

16 thoughts on “Stepping Stone’s first death”

  1. This homage is your best writing. I can’t begin to imagine the amount of strength it took. It almost destroyed me when my husband died. I can’t imagine losing any of them. I think you are an angel on this plane. I never forget your pain or Vic’s. Blessings beautiful soul, Barbara


  2. Those who are left, remember and love, eventually the pain recedes. It’s amazing that you deal with that raw, fresh pain so lovingly and openly. You are so needed.


  3. What you write is brutally honest and true, Tersia. I wish you never had to live through what you did. Of course, it is raw. I can still remember my son’s death as if it were yesterday. But the pain is not as devastating. How beautiful that Vic lives on with Stepping Stone. Amazing how devoted you are to helping others while your grief weighs you down. No one can imagine it.


  4. Hugs to you Tersia! I have recently found myself wondering about the dash, you know the – that is between our birth and our deaths, our lives are reduced to a simple dash. A dash that means a life-time to those who have lost a loved one and a simple line to those who didn’t know.
    Diana xo


  5. Hugs Tersia. I can imagine that you would relive things some when caring for others in the same or similar situation. Take care of you too. I think Vic would scold you if she thought your weren’t. xo


  6. This is the line that resonated with me the most – “I have truly learnt that death is not the enemy. Living is.” Those of us left behind to grieve and live life without our loved ones with us know this to be true. I think that gives us an advantage though because we are not afraid of death in the same way, another gift from them. Hugs to you


  7. Yes, those who leave us are at peace – it’s we who suffer. But you know what, Tersia? I believe they’re around us. And Philip said to me that the way I hurt when he suffered anything is the way he hurts when he watches me suffer now. It’s a sobering thought – but they’re not HERE, they’re not with us the way we want them to be. It’s so exhausting, this trying to live without them. Love, hugs and peace to you, dear one.


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