Sunday, June 10, 2012

in loving memory

It's been an exhausting and emotional 2 years supporting my family through Al's journey, they say that knowing the end is coming should be easier, but having watched the suffering I think I would prefer swift and quick!! I have really struggled coming to terms with the loss of My sisters best friend and husband.

Who thought the dude at the back of my bus in 1985, the one that I nodded at, shared smiles and laughter with, travelled the same route with for 2 and half years. Would be the same man that married my baby sister, the same man that I asked to be the godfather to my children. 

To have the privilege of holding your hand in your last few pain filled hours was a heart aching  honour, I just wish you hadn't suffered so much!! Nobody should!!

For those of you that don't know, Al had a few Basal Cell Carcinomas (BCC) 
  • is known as a non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC)
  • is the most common and least dangerous form of skin cancer
  • appears as a round or flattened lump or scaly area
  • is red, pale or pearly in colour
  • grows slowly, usually on the head, neck and upper torso
  • may become ulcerated as it grows
  • appears on skin most often exposed to the sun - the head, neck, forearms and upper body
  • is usually able to be treated if detected early
removed, but it was one of these BCC's that in July 2010 decided to raise its ugly head and in the most rarest of cases, became a tumour near his neck and right armpit. Which was immediately treated with surgery and high dose radiation and chemotherapy. Then in June of 2011 it seemed that Al was going to be in the clear, but sadly his health was still not improved and he was suffering from back pain. Cancer counts were good and an all clear report was made by the Drs. But his pain was increasing. July saw more tests and immediately we were informed that the news was not good. Al was diagnosed with Bone Cancer caused by the BCC this is extremely Rare and shocked all medical staff that were dealing with Al's case. Sadly he was given 4 months to live. This is what shocked us the most. Al fought the tough journey with blood transfusions (please donate blood), that helped him have a few good days in the months of pain. When asked the Dr's were baffled, Al was a very healthy YOUNG Man at the age of 44 and his body fought hard, but in the end CANCER won. But he fought a very tough battle during his last eleven days that were spent in the most amazing Palliative care ward in Camden Hospital. 

People often comment on our family, how close we are, and yes we are exceptionally close, we support each other unconditionally, but sadly with all the positives and good things that come with that, it also means that when one of us hurts we all hurt - and how we are hurting right now!!! 

So although we are all happy that our "Allan Wonderful" is no longer in pain, we are hurting and will hurt for some time I imagine!!

Your bags have been packed for a while "mr smith" travel safe on your peaceful journey, we know that your pain free now and in a happier place....

We will miss you lots!!!
In Loving Memory

Al Smith
(Mr. Allan Wonderful)
 2.10.67 - 29.5.12

Feel no guilt in laughter;
He’d know how much you care.
Feel no sorrow in a smile that He is not here to share.
You cannot grieve forever;
He would not want you to.
He'd hope that you could carry on the way you always do.
So, talk about the good times and the way you
showed you cared,
The days you spent together, all the happiness you shared.
Let memories surround you,
A word someone may say
will suddenly recapture
A time, an hour, a day,
That brings him back as clearly as though he were still here,
And fills you with the feeling that he is always near.
For if you keep those moments, you will never be apart
And he will live forever locked safely within your heart.
I was so proud of my family and how we all pulled together to give Al, the most amazing send off - one that was lovingly prepared by a family as close as ours.

Here is what my Husband Brian of whom I was so proud of said in Al's honour.

An unknown artist penned the following quote,"When you're in jail, a good friend will be trying to bail you out. A best friend will be in the cell next to you saying, 'Damn, that was fun.'"
(Unknown)This person must have known Al, as many a time we can all remember being somewhere with Al helping get one of our household projects done, getting into trouble with some quick witted humor, getting the BBQ going, knocking back a few Tooheys Blues and having a damn good time. He was more than a good friend, he was our mate.The dictionary defines a mate as:“A significant other or spouse, part of a matched pair or a friend or buddy. “To me and all of you, Al was that friend or buddy. To Chantelle and Jasmin he was their world. But foremost he was the significant other and part of a matched pair to Heidi, his soul mate.I find it a great honor to be speaking to you today as this honor was given to me 20 years ago when he asked me to be his best man.  I asked myself, over this period of  time, what do we remember the most about our mate Al. There are so many good memories, here a just a few; Family gatherings and Christmases (and the receiving of matching t-shirts), always turning up in said matching t-shirts, his sense of humor and quick wit, dressing up in some of the most ridiculous outfits, playing Medal of Honor on the Xbox, challenges on the dart board, building small fires to keep warm that turn into raging infernos, talking rugby league (and never picking the winners), always willing to lend a hand and get dirty, working in the yard, his accubra hat , street drinks & BBQ’s, his love of food, especially Terry’s famous chicken curry, someone you can rely on, camping trips with family and friends, spending quality time with his girls and his devotion to his family. I remember in particular the time when Al and I went fishing. We were all at the family caravan at Bawley Point. Our neighbour Jeff had a boat and we were lucky enough to get an invite to go out fishing. Up early in the morning, down to the boat ramp and away we went. We were both looking forward to catching plenty of fish but as we headed out the swell started to pickup, Al was looking very white. Its always good to have some berley with you to get the fish to start coming around and Al didn’t disappoint. He was not well. Jeff was not going to head back to the boat ramp so Al said get me near the beach and I’ll jump in and swim back. He did this so his mates could go fishing. One of the more amazing things Al did was to assist his neighbor Irene in the birth of their second daughter Eliza, right on the front door step of their home. They are forever in his debt.  Al was a remarkably honest, friendly and hard-working person. He was a person of great compassion, humor and mate ship.Above all, Al believed in family.
In closing, I feel that this is what Al would like to say to Heidi, Chantelle and Jasmin today.

“Now that I am gone,remember me with smiles and laughter.And if you need to cry,cry with your family and friendswho walk in grief beside you.And when you need me,put your arms around anyoneand give to them what you need to give to me.There are so many who need so much.I want to leave you something --something much better than words or sounds.Look for me in the people I've knownor helped in some special way.Let me live in your heartas well as in your mind.You can love me mostby letting your love reach out to our loved ones,by embracing them and living in their love.Love does not die, people do.So, when all that's left of me is love,give me away as best you can.”(Author unknown)

Al will forever live in all our hearts
We are all going to miss you, old mate.

1 comment:

  1. sending extra big hugs your way.........I have been thinking of you to so now know it is all over is sad but also a relief that pain goes on no to you and all your family..........


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