One particularly difficult morning, Alan was highly agitated and very shaky, I tried to get him into the shower but he could barely stand, he no longer had any strength in his legs, and I was worried he would fall.    I didn’t push the point, instead I suggested he go back and snuggle down in bed for a little bit until he felt better.  There was no resistance from him, and I knew once I got him settled,  he would never leave it again.

I believe I mentioned previously that his mother was Scottish and Alan was very proud of his heritage – he always became emotional  whenever he heard the bagpipes.  That last Christmas in 2011,  I’d purchased for him a DVD of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, so I had that playing in the bedroom. I also moved in a CD player and had the Highland Theme Tunes playing.  The sound of the pipes echoing through the house was very haunting, I almost felt as if we were back in the misty Highlands together.    Lucy Beagle had crawled completely under the hospital bed,  curled up in a ball snoring.  Lucky was curled up on the top of the bed.  Rather than sitting  dwelling on the situation,  I tried to busy myself with household chores and kept peeping in to check on all the sleeping beauties.

Alan was always buying me different teddy bears, and several years before he’d had some made with our names on, so I surrounded him with family photos, and the teddy bears,  and he drifted in and out of sleep for several days.  I was busy in the kitchen poaching salmon and some of his other favorite foods, then pureeing them down with vegetables, but he was barely accepting anything to eat.

One night about 2.00 am it was obvious he was in severe distress and pain, so I finally called the emergency number for Hospice and thankfully a nurse did come out.   She immediately called in a script for morphine which was delivered within an hour, and she then showed me how to administer it to him orally in the side of the mouth. She asked me again if I wanted someone to come and sit with him round the clock…….. again I declined.  I just didn’t feel I wanted to share his last precious days with a stranger.