Paul passed away very peacefully at St. Luke's Hospital in Dublin at ten minutes past eight on Tuesday evening.
I am so so so absolutely heart-broken. It is a tremendous loss. I have lost the person who was my soulmate, my best friend, my companion through the past eight years of my life - he was everything to me.
He got very unwell over the weekend. His liver pain got worse and worse, he did not drink or eat anything and he was very apathetic.
On Sunday evening our niece dropped by and Paul said to her, but not in my presence, "I have had enough".
Later that same evening, after I had brought him to bed, I cried uncontrolably. I guess I knew the end was near. But Paul said to me I should not be afraid and that he would go into hospital the following day, get the Chemo done and be, as we say here in Ireland, as right as rain very soon.
On Monday in the day ward they gave Paul fluids. He was completely dehydrated. They also took bloods and, once it was clear that he had several infections somewhere in his body and that the kidneys were no longer working properly, they gave him three different antibiotics in the hope that they would cover the infections.
Paul was admitted to a single room on a lovely ward. I told everyone that I would stay with Paul all the time, even over night, and they let me.
Then the doctor called me into his office, closed the door and told me that Paul was very seriously ill and that they expected it not to be long now.
I spent the evening sitting by Paul's bedside. Now that I knew that he wouldn't survive, I gently said to him, "Of course I want you to stay with me for much longer. But it is okay if you want to let go. You can go now." He perked up after that for a couple of hours. He told me that he felt it was a bad thing for him to let go. I said no it was not, he could really let go if he wanted. I gave him tea, he had a bite to eat, and we watched some tv together.
But during the night he got worse. He couldn't articulate himself any longer and was very agitated. He was often lying in bed half asleep and then a liver cramp would wake him up and make him scream. Also, he was not comfortable with the bladder katheter and felt that he needed to go to the bathroom all the time. At one stage I didn't catch him early enough when he tried to get up and when he fell into my arms with exhaustion he pleaded with me, "Bring me to a more beautiful place." His breathing changed. The breaths were very shallow and there was a sigh on the outbreath. The nurses told me it could be comfort breathing because he was not in pain now that they had given him so much pain medication, but I knew it was not. After every liver cramp there was a sob.
At ten o'clock the doctors told me that the bloods had not improved and that they would stop all medication now except for palliative care.
I left the hospital for a couple of hours to get some rest and to collect some things from home as we didn't know how long it would take and whether it would be another night.
When I came back his situation had deteriorated very much. His breathing was so shallow, he didn't scream with pain any longer, he was no longer conscious.
I sat with him from about 5pm until he passed at ten minutes past eight. I had my hand on his heart all the time telling him that it was okay to let go and that there was no more pain and no more suffering and that I was there for him always. I felt his heart stop.
And you know what? Of course I was absolutely heart-broken, but there was also a sense of relief for him: no more suffering, no more fighting. He battled with this cancer so so so well for fifteen years and the time had come to stop fighting.
The staff in the hospital were amazing. The level of care for Paul and support for me was absolutely wonderful. And they not only allowed me to be with him all the time, but they also involved me in whatever they were doing with him so that we really worked in a team to make Paul as comfortable and safe as possible.
I will leave it at that for the moment.
Warm wishes to everyone.