As bad as things were getting, I was always fiercely optimistic that I would never have to post something on Jerome’s blog on his behalf. I am devastated to deliver the tragic news that the love of my life has just passed away.
It happened just after noon on Tuesday April 3rd. We had checked him into Clare Holland House in Canberra to tackle pain management and control what had become hourly vomiting for more than three straight weeks. These things seemed to have improved after less than one week at the hospice, but took a terrible turn when his lung disease worsened unexpectedly quickly over a couple of days. He passed away on his ninth day there due to breathing difficulties. The doctors didn’t seem to expect it to happen so fast; we were waiting for some sedatives to kick in to alleviate his anxiety and give a dose of antibiotics a chance to work. We figure now that they likely would not have helped anyway.
I was there, holding his hand and hugging him at the end. His parents, his sister Jessica and her partner Pete were in the room, talking to him and touching him. He was not alone and he knew it. Jerome wanted to pass away in peace, but he would never have been one to slip away. Even though his encounter with death was distressing, traumatic and the stuff of his nightmares, the process was representative of the way he lived his life and swifter than it might have been. Despite his struggle, he was active and aware, fighting physically and mentally until his last breaths.
That last bedroom was a beautiful one. In the small ACT hospice he had a private space with a garden walkout through a set of sliding glass doors. He could see the calm Lake Burley Griffin from his bed and the sun shone every day we there. We watched the mist and the gorgeous pink clouds in the sky in the mornings and evenings, and during the nights we talked and joked. The day he passed featured the most amazing sunset myself and his family had seen in years.
After his passing we each had a chance to sit with Jerome, speak to him and keep him company. Shaken by the events of the morning, I meditated with him alone for a little while so to bring him and myself the peace he sought.
Jerome had a wonderful life, and often reminisced about the amazing time he had during 2009 when he was undergoing extensive treatment in Melbourne. Despite the aggressive chemotherapy and radiation, it was during this period that he developed a sense of uninhibited happiness when it came to appreciating his life. The stresses of everyday troubles evaporated and left him with an immense gratitude for the wonderful people around him and the gorgeous world in which he lived.
I could go on and on, but you his readers know how he felt. As with almost everything he took on, Jerome developed a remarkable knack for this cherished hobby of his. He came into his own with a sublime ability to express his thoughts through beautiful words. I’m sure you would all agree.
I am immensely happy to be able to call him my husband. We married exactly one month earlier, to the day. Our ceremony was intimate and magnificent and I’m so glad the two of us were fortunate enough to be able to celebrate our love that way. He began to decline significantly the following day.
I want to thank you all for supporting him through your involvement in his journey as readers. He was so grateful to all of you for your time, interest, appreciation and devotion. He would send love to you all, my beloved warrior for his worthy cause.