The Bad News

Born in Holland, 30th October; 1936
Died in New Zealand, 1st June;1997

Dear Thom,

I love you
Not only for what you made of yourself,
But for what you made of me
I love you,
Because you did more
Than anyone or anything
To make me happy
You did it without a word
Without a touch, without a sign
You did it just by being yourself
After all
Perhaps that is what love means.

All my love,
from Deidre

The diagnosis of mesothelioma was devastating to Thom.
Exactly a year before this he had a double-by-pass.
He had been told there was no damage to his heart
and he would most likely "live to a ripe old age".
It was not long after his his by -pass operation
that Thom was back at work.
And as usual he was running every where.
There was no stopping Thom
He started putting on weight
Thom was a judge of cage birds
and breeder of all types of canaries
Every weekend he would be off
round New Zealand showing
his own birds and judging others.
He loved doing this
Around May of that year he started getting extremely tired.
developed a sore neck
and his feet were always cold
He would think he was having a heart attack
(the symptoms he was showing)
He also kept having time off work
with flu-like symptoms
but, without the temperature .
They could never find anything wrong with him.

Tests were done,
but they could not find the cause.
On October the 18th 1996;
because of the pain he was getting on the left side of his chest,
more tests were run.
Nothing was found and his x-ray was clear.
A month later, on November the 18th
He was admitted into hospital with pneumonia.
From then on,
the left lung was filled with fluid
which had to be drained each week.
And he started to lose weight
Over the next 2 months a lot of tests were done.
On the 7th of January 1997,
Thom was told the diagnosis.
He had Pleural Mesothelioma.
There was no cure.
He was going to die,
and to go home and get his affairs in order.
Because of the way Thom was told this news,
he never really got over it.
He literally died that day and existed
till his actual death on the 1st of June.
" Because all hope was taken from him."
He could not cope with the idea of no hope.
That day, his dreams were taken away from him.
His life and his very existence.
There had to be a better way to tell him.
The disbelief, despair, disheartenment, distress
and dismay never left Thom's eyes till the day he died.
He was so brave when his family and friends visited him,
and always tried to be cheerful for them.
But it took so much out of him.
No one thought to ask his family,
who had known him so much longer than them;
what would be the best way to tell Thom this very sad news.
Two months after Thom died, my sister was diagnosed with cancer
and told that she could not be cured.
But she was given some hope of time,
from chemotherapy if it worked.
She lived her time of dying,
whereas Thom died his time of living.
It was so different in the way they
handled their last time on earth.
I believe the way they were told the diagnosis made the difference.
The time between The two photos of Thom is three months.
From the beginning of November to the end of January.
The 2nd photo tells it all.
Doesn't it ?



What Thom wrote to me just six weeks before he died
To my dear wife on our 34th wedding anniversary.
I still love you the same as I did all those years ago, Deidre
Thank you for sharing my dreams, my life , my love
Happy anniversary.
Love always.
May we have a few more months together to express our love.,
xxxx, Thom.

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