In Jan 2013 my life-partner and soul mate, Suzie, was diagnosed with MSA (Multiple System Atrophy), a rare, incurable Neurological illness. Only days earlier she had also been diagnosed with an equally rare cancer. Our lives were devastated and changed forever. But, through prayer and faith, we faced one day at a time, and I continue to do so without her. My desire is to offer insight, information, hope and encouragement to other people who face their own life changing illnesses or bereavement.
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Sunday, 23 June 2013
2012: A Different Kind of Christmas
Suzie soon settled into her new surroundings and was much more relaxed and comfortable. She was weak and tired but was now under the care of Physio Charlotte who was helping her to increase her strength and mobility. This was the same physiotherapist who had been treating Suzie at home, so she was familiar with Sue's ongoing difficulties and could set realistic progress goals based on an informed judgement of Sue's abilities.
It soon became clear that we had a long and difficult road ahead of us, and that there were adaptations and equipment that would be needed before Suzie would be able to come home. Christmas in hospital was inevitable. By then my son and daughter had arrived, and knowing that they were in control of everything that was required for our family Christmas was an immense blessing for me.
Suzie's Christmas began with Holy Communion at her bedside on Christmas Eve followed by the arrival of Carol Singers on the ward and a visit from our Vicar. Members of the hospital's 'League of Friends' brought gifts and we were also given a most delightful Nativity ornament by two dear friends, which was a most perfect gift for Suzie's current setting.
After settling Suzie down to sleep for the night I then had the added blessing of being able to attend Midnight Mass with my family, including both my kids, which was a very special time for me.
Christmas Day worked out very well as it turned out. I was able to spend the morning with Suzie while my kids cooked the lunch for our family and then they were able to visit her in the afternoon. After another couple of hours with her later I came home and had some quality time with my wonderful family. Various other friends made time to visit Suzie at other points during the day so, all in all, we had a lot to be thankful for. We'd had a reasonably 'Merry Christmas'.... Would it be a 'Happy New Year'? Only time would tell.
A reminder of the truth of Christmas
Suzie, getting into the Christmas Spirit
A visit from the Vicar, suitably attired in his Christmas hat!