Marie Curie Nurse made sure Dad and I were together in his final moments
When Sam became her dad, Terry’s full-time carer she was determined to be there for him until the end. Sam talks to us about the bond she shared with Terry, and the Marie Curie Nurse that made sure she was with him in his final moments.
“My dad died surrounded by people who cared about him, comfortably and in his own home. I was holding his hand as he went. It was exactly what he wanted.”
“My parents split up when I was six years old but I was always close to my dad and we just got on really well – I used to call him ‘Terry’ instead of ‘Dad’. He was a bit of a Del Boy character and was always fit and healthy before he became ill.
“Terry was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in August 2009 after visiting the GP’s for something routine. They tested his blood, and he was told the cancer was incurable.
Tried to hide it
“During the first year of Terry’s illness he told me only vague details and tried to hide it, and he didn't want me attending the hospital appointments with him. It was only after coming across some paperwork in his desk that I realised how serious it was.
“From then on, I supported him fully and became his primary carer, along with help from my fiancé. I researched the various treatment options and helped him make decisions about which options to choose. You have to learn to navigate the system.
Trusted to look after Dad
“During my dad's last week, I knew he could die at any moment, and I really, really wanted to be with him when he went. During this week I didn't eat much, and hardly slept. I existed purely on cups of tea and the odd bite of toast.
“Thankfully, the night that Terry died, we had the most amazing Marie Curie Nurse. She was perfect. She was the first nurse that I truly felt that I could trust to look after him for the night. Her name was Libby and she was so calming and peaceful.
“She came in and although he was unconscious at this point, she said hello to my dad, and spoke to him normally. I always liked it when nurses did this. Supposedly hearing is the last thing to go, and I didn't want Terry to hear us talking about him like he wasn't there.
“I can't help but think that he chose to die with her present. She was great and knew all the signs to look for. The moment his breathing changed and body temperature dropped, she gently called us to come and sit with him.
"I'll be eternally gratefully to Libby for that.”
If you or a member of your family has been affected by terminal illness, the Marie Curie Support Line can offer help every step of the way. Call free on 0800 090 2309*
* Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones. Your call may be recorded for quality and training purposes.