Our account of Jac’s illness — part four

After Jac’s ‘Welsh’ sister arrived at the ‘Countess of Chester’ hospital early on that Wednesday morning she was taken aside and it was explained to her how very serious Jac’s condition had become: she had fallen into a deep coma from which the nurses said there was virtually no chance she would awaken and she could die at any moment. Terribly shocked by the unexpected news she went to Jac’s room, and found her, as she had been warned, in stillness and silence. Speaking quietly to her she told her that she would try to contact the family. The nurses had explained that Jac possibly might yet hear what was said to her, as it is known that this aspect of consciousness is often still receptive near the end of life, so she begged Jac to wait for her daughter. She told her that she was trying her utmost to reach her, asking her to wait and telling her that she would soon be there — that she was coming. ‘Oh please Jac do wait for her, she will need to be with you.’

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Attempts to contact Jim Perrin had failed. The house phone was not answered; his mobile was switched off and no message could be left.  Time was dwindling and Jac’s daughter, who was an art student in a nearby town but who had no phone of her own, had to be found if it was at all possible. More phone calls — it took several to locate her. Our sister telephoned Jac’s ‘first love’, in Cumbria, telling him how grave things were and asking him if he would try to contact Jim Perrin, as she had  been unable to do so, and also Jac’s youngest son, who was in Argentina.  He managed to achieve both, although Jim Perrin said, rather strangely, ‘he would be along later — as soon as he could’. Sadly Jac’s eldest son who was supply teaching in Yorkshire also had his mobile switched off and we had no idea which school he was in.

It was wonderful that her daughter arrived, supported by her boyfriend, and thus she was able to be there at her mother’s side and to show her the love she had for her. Jac had waited for her: within the hour, she died.

If our sister had not gone into the hospital that morning she would not have been able to find Jac’s daughter in time nor would she have been able to let the rest of the family  know, (and contrary to the impression that Jim Perrin had given the night before when speaking with two of her sisters —’she is a little better, a little brighter’) how very serious things were.

Shortly afterwards our family began to arrive; from Suffolk and Yorkshire, from the Lake District and, of course, from Wales.  There were ten people, all of whom loved Jac dearly, in her room with her: finally Jim Perrin arrived. (In West he wrote, and do note the discrepancy — ‘people soon began to fill the room’ — ref. page 271 — he was, of course, telling his lie that he was the only person with our sister when she died.) In fact he was not there. He arrived last: and late.  The nurses were saying ‘Where is her partner?’ — ‘Is he not here yet?’

He had left her the night before.  He could have had no idea that we, by a miracle, had been able to be with her: Jim Perrin had left our sister to die alone.

Jac’s sisters.