The day before my husband died, we’d spent the morning walking on the beach and then eaten breakfast at a beach café overlooking the sea. That night, we met friends and saw the movie Invictus with Morgan Freeman who played Nelson Mandela. My husband was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and although he had not only been a Mandela fan, he’d done some work for the ANC (African National Congress in South Africa) but at this stage of his illness, the movie made no sense to him. I had hoped that it might jog his memory. I loved the movie. and saw it again on a plane trip. The guy sitting next to me asked why I was watching a move about rugby. I had to explain that when Nelson Mandela became President of South Africa, he used rugby, the National Sport of South Africa, as a way of reaching the White South Africans.
We had coffee after the movie, drove home and went to bed. The next morning, my husband went for his regular walk to the park, carrying identification on him as always. He knew the way there and back well and somehow never got lost. But, this time, he did not come home. Instead, a policewoman rang our doorbell and told me that he was in the hospital and suggested that I go there immediately. I did.
Later I learned that while walking in the park, my husband had suffered what we laymen know as a massive stroke and later that day, it was all over. I’ll never forget the couple who stayed with us until the end. How fortunate that we had managed our walk on the beach, managed a movie, had coffee together, and, my husband had even managed part of his usual morning walk in the park that he loved so much.
Somehow, I felt as though I had gained one extra day, quality time, spent positively with him.