After death - finding a "new normal"

Lyn Jones and her family are now finding their ‘new normal' after the death of their loved husband and father Wayne Jones at Cranford Hospice.

When Wayne arrived at the hospice for pain management and support, they thought it was to be a short stay.

One of the first things that impacted on Lyn was Cranford nurse Hugh saying to her: “We can do this now. You can be his wife”.

“Wayne and I felt secure that his day to day needs were now going to be administered to by the wonderful doctors and staff. We could just be together," says Lyn.

Lyn promised Wayne that when he got sick she would always be at his side, and along with his very close family, that's exactly what happened.

Lyn remembers the day that Cranford nurse Neville came in. Seeing her teetering on the edge of the bed he suggested they bring in another bed. Within half an hour they had shifted a chair, moved Wayne's bed over and bought in another bed. This allowed Lyn and Wayne to maintain the closeness they had always shared. It was a great comfort to Wayne.

“I think about life and our marriage, and know that I have got lots of wonderful memories,” says Lyn.

The Jones

"I miss him and sometimes feel anger that he left me. They tell me that's normal!" Lyn Jones

“All our photos are of fun and laughter. It's been a real neat life. I miss him and sometimes feel anger that he left me. They tell me that's normal!

“He spent his life making me happy,” she says. So while he was ill Lyn arranged some special outings for Wayne. After months of chemotherapy they managed a cruise to the Pacific Islands with friends creating great lasting memories.

Bucket List surprise

Last October Lyn organised a pretend fishing trip to trick him into travelling up to Auckland. Once there, a Skype session (to say goodnight) allowed Lyn and some of the family to see his reaction when he learned he and his two sons were actually flying to Melbourne to see the GP Motorbikes at Phillip Island. Wayne was overwhelmed. It was a definite “Bucket List” thing to do - and it gave the boys precious time with their Dad.

Wayne was a great music lover. He particularly liked Pink Floyd so music therapist Laura Halligan learnt a few of their songs, and twice a week she came and played them to him. Wayne would sing along from his bed. Last January at their son's wedding, “Songbird” by Fleetwood Mac was played. Lyn and Wayne loved it. Laura tracked it down, and when she played it to them, Lyn asked Wayne to dance.

”It was like being in our own world. We forgot Laura was there,” says Lyn.

Laura said later that she was privileged to be there for such a special and enchanting moment. When Wayne died on May 2, he was pain free and had peace at last. His new journey began, and one also began for Lyn and her family.

A peaceful passing

“One of the most humbling things I will never forget was after Wayne passed away,” Lyn says.

“The doctors, nurses, staff and volunteers were all standing outside the door waiting for him to come out and finally leave the place and the people he came to rely on and love in his final weeks. It was lovely”.

Lyn won't be making any big decisions on what she wants to do until she is ready, but there are a couple of good things on her horizon. One is the possibility in the New Year of volunteering at Cranford, a chance maybe to say thank you and to give support back. Another is a cruise with six other family members in September which she is really looking forward to.

“We'll have a laugh; we will remember Wayne every day, and we'll learn to build new memories together as a family.”

Lyn wanted to share this story so that other people could be more at ease about coming to the hospice.

“I just want people to feel that the hospice is ‘okay'. It is not ‘that place' to go and die. There is such a myth around this. Cranford is more than that. You can't do it all yourself. These are the people you want around your loved one. They are just very loving, caring and treat you like family.”