Monthly Archives: September 2010

Our account of Jac’s illness — part two

Towards the end of our ‘Yorkshire’ sister’s last visit to Wales on that May bank holiday, Jac was experiencing considerable pain — it would later become apparent that her disease, which had spread to her liver, was the reason for this distress but we didn’t realise it at the time.

She had a hospital appointment, booked for Wednesday, at the outpatients’ clinic. Instead, they kept her in for observation although she had taken absolutely nothing at all with her in the way of necessities; and she told us — after this change of plan — that she would be staying in, but only overnight.

In fact, with ‘observations’, meeting with her consultant, waiting for the results of tests, and the ‘week-end’ those last days slipped quickly by; at least we knew that she was able to rest and to be properly cared for in a safe environment free from the continual harassment to which she had been subjected at home… Continue reading

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Our account of Jac’s illness — part one

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We had intended to move forward with the story of Jac’s life from our preceding post, but as it raised so many unsettling memories we decided that this is the appropriate point at which to take issue with the author, Jim Perrin, concerning his ‘flawed’ — actually dishonest — accounts of the time leading up to, and including, our sister’s death.

We shall be specific when we write of this and there can be no question that our statements are not absolutely accurate.

Our sister was doing her utmost to fight the cancer with which she had been beset. She spoke to all three of us regularly and at length, in person and by telephone and her nearest sisters saw her either at her own home in Wales or when she went to stay in Yorkshire.

Her ‘Yorkshire’ sister went down to Wales twice during that Christmas period and on four subsequent occasions, the last of which was the May bank holiday just prior to Jac going into the Chester hospital. In between these visits she had been taken by her daughter to Yorkshire where she stayed for three peaceful weeks, choosing to be away from Jim Perrin’s domination. Even so, while she was with her ‘Yorkshire’ sister, he hounded her relentlessly with an endless bombardment of letters — these will be the subjects of future posts. (Even worse were his telephone calls; Jac found them so upsetting she asked her sister no longer to pass the phone to her… and to tell him not to call.)

So it can clearly be seen that as well as all her other many contacts with family and friends our sister was not, in the least little bit, ‘neglected’ as Jim Perrin wrote in his accusatory terms, ref. West, page 6, and every effort was made by those who loved her to support her during this, the most vulnerable, period of her life. (And, it is relevant to add, despite his many attempts to prevent them from doing so.)

Jac’s sisters.

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Jac’s first love

For this section of Jac’s story we will go back to her school days because it was while she was still at Kendal High School that she met her first love, a young man from Heversham Grammar School, and from then on they were inseparable. They formed a long and happy relationship and, when their schooldays were over, lived together although never marrying.

He had been offered a place in Liverpool to study medicine and for this reason Jac chose to enrol there for her teacher-training course, in order to be with him. He is now a much respected and successful doctor, acupuncture being one of his specialities.

His life however, was not all work — he was, from his youth, a very keen climber and in due course he was a member of the Lake District Mountain Rescue. He became a highly talented and well regarded mountaineer climbing with teams both K2 and Everest, and his determined work on behalf of the Sherpas is just one example of his caring spirit.

The relationship which he and our sister shared lasted, through many changes of direction, for the rest of their lives and he has always been a much loved family friend.

He knew of her illness and had supported her throughout and when he was telephoned from the room in the Chester hospital where she lay dying he came down from the Lake District with wings on his heels. He spoke to Jac’s ‘Welsh’ sister on his mobile during this journey, suggesting the massage movements which she could best use to soothe her and she held her own mobile phone to Jac’s ear so that he could speak gently to her. A nurse had told Jac’s sister it was likely that she was still able to hear, although she was by now no longer conscious — as the sense of hearing is often still present in times like these.

Shortly after this her daughter, whom Jac’s sister had finally managed to contact, arrived with her boyfriend and it was the most marvellous chance that she was able to talk to Jac, to stroke her hand and to be with her for the last precious moment.

Sadly, despite his speed, he could not reach her in time as she died not long before he reached the hospital but he was able to give a simple and meaningful Buddhist blessing at her bedside which we know was exactly right for Jac and what she would have wanted.

Our sister and he had loved each other so profoundly, and had been together for so many years, that it seemed only fitting that her children, in acknowledging this, should choose to introduce him in the order of service which they had prepared for her funeral as her ‘first love’.

Throughout her life she never ceased to love him.

Jac’s sisters.

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