How to start something so complex…
My gorgeous husband, Ian was diagnosed with a Grade IV GBM (brain tumour) in February 2014 and very sadly left this great earth in September 2017…it was sudden and not expected in the way it happened.
We were and I am still so in love…we were inseparable for 18 years…we were always destined to be together…our love story so strong that everyone could see it and feel it and so could Helen who never had the great privilege of meeting Ian…part of which made Helen very special from the beginning. She really listened, connected with our stories and could feel our love.
I read an article about Helen and her company Graceful Dying in August 17.
The article resonated with me so much so that I was compelled to phone her even though at that time I didn’t think the end was near. I just wanted to have the discussion to plan the things I never wanted to plan so I could put it all away until the day that we needed it.
Helen and I met, she came to our home as I cared for Ian 24/7.
Helen did five amazing things for me…
First amazing thing…I learned that dying could be not only graceful but also beautiful in its planning and celebration of a wonderful life.
Second amazing thing…the tough stuff, Helen told me all about the actual end of life…the last 24 hours…the last hour…the final minutes. It wasn’t easy or pleasant to talk this through…I cried so much and I still do when I think about it. When the time came I knew and understood what was happening to Ian’s glorious body and I knew what to do for him and how I could be with him during and after his passing.
Third amazing thing (and the greatest thing)…Helen opened my thinking so much by simply saying anything is possible there is no set way to do things. There was no rush to anything when that time came. These simple words enabled me and freed me to give myself time to plan and think especially when Ian’s end of life came so rapidly. This ultimately meant that we had the most beautiful and meaningful ceremony for Ian and four months down the track I wouldn’t change a thing.
Fourth amazing thing…Helen came with me to visit my selected Funeral Home (well before we knew that Ian’s departure would be here sooner than we expected). To have her with me to help ask the tough questions and hear the responses was so helpful and so supportive.
Fifth amazing thing…we had Ian’s ceremony at home – Ian was here as well (something I didn’t know we could do). Helen guided the ceremony from start to close. She was beautiful, kind and connected. I had so many of our friends and family in coming days and weeks say that it was the most beautiful and meaningful ceremony they had ever attended…that meant so much to me as I wanted nothing more than a ceremony that enabled the sharing of stories, emotions and love that showed what a truly great person Ian was and is.
Although in the end it was not needed I knew Helen would be here with us at home whilst Ian moved through the final stages of life to help and support not just me but our family who would be with Ian. Sadly it didn’t happen that way for us as Ian was in hospital at the time.
Helen has also called me since just to see how I am going…it is nice to talk with Helen who truly understands grief…not my exact grief…no one can do that…but she doesn’t say the crazy things that some people say whilst they are trying their best to help.
I can’t recommend Helen enough…whether you are simply planning ahead or are in the middle of a yucky time…she will be there for you and help and guide you in the way that is right for you.
I am forever grateful that I read that article…