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Saturday, 8 March 2014

When Time Stood Still

As I settle down for our second night at Rowcroft Hospice I reflect on the journey that has brought us here. Suddenly it feels like time has stopped, and everything that has led us to this point is now irrelevant. During these past few days I've seen occasional glimmers of hope. Sometimes Suzie has caught my eye and winked at me with a mischievous twinkle in her eyes and a beautiful smile on her face, and it's been hard to believe she's ill at all. But other times I've looked at her poor frail body and wondered just how much more can she endure. Each time we've had a setback we've never quite come back to where we were. Each ability lost for even a day has become lost for ever.
The staff here at Rowcroft are amazing. They are so caring and compassionate, and they have made Suzie feel very comfortable and peaceful. They're taking very good care of me too, and nothing is too much trouble for them. In some ways it has been very hard for me to let go of my role as Suzie's sole carer. Caring for her has always been a huge privilege and it has taken our relationship to a profound and unprecedented depth of love and oneness. It sounds strange but, as Suzie's care needs have gradually become ever more intimately personal and potentially demeaning, so my love and respect for her has increased. Reaching the stage now where I realise I will never again be able to give her the level of care she needs is like losing a part who I am.
The staff here are making this transition as easy as they can for me, both by including me in some aspects of Suzie's care, and also by showing such tenderness and respect to Suzie as they undertake the tasks that I can't do. In some ways it has released me to simply love her and be here for her.
As I sit here listening to Suzie's gentle breathing as she sleeps beside me I can't help but wonder what the coming days and weeks will be like. Having spoken alone with the Doctor this morning I realise it's looking increasingly unlikely that Suzie and I will be going home from here together.
Home.... Our bungalow feels like it's a million miles away. This is our home at the moment, and it's like the rest of the world just doesn't exist. Maybe Suzie will rally and we may yet have some time at home together. Maybe I need to set her free to move on to the new home that has been prepared for her by God - her eternal home where we will one day live together. We know that this world is not our home, and it's the hope of our ultimate eternal home with our loving Saviour that sustains us now. May it continue to do so as we travel ever nearer the end of our journey.