Monday, October 22, 2018


As you may be aware, Tony was diagnosed with lung cancer some time ago.  For a very long time it sat there, minding its own business, not really doing anything particularly interesting.

Then it started to grow. Tony and Stella between them decided that it was better not to take any invasive action.  In fact, not really to take any action at all.  He was 87, already quite frail and any action that could be taken would probably make matters worse.

He continued to get more frail but otherwise seemed OK. His appetite decreased to almost nothing and he had got very thin, but he was managing with resource drinks, chocolate, ice cream, milo and red wine.

He was more or less OK when we left Melbourne not quite three weeks ago. The day we left he was talking about having a pub lunch when we got back.

He was more or less OK when I spoke to him six or so days ago.

Then he started to fade very quickly. He stopped getting out of bed.  He pretty much stopped eating and drinking.  It was clear that he didn't have long to go.  But it looked as though he would easily last until Lindsey and I got back. Even yesterday, when lots of the family went to visit, it seemed as though he had a week or so to go.

The only issue was that Stella was finding it difficult to manage overnight. During the day there were people about. At night she couldn't help him get up to go to the toilet, or to sit up for a drink.  Wendy has been down there for a few nights and last night Belinda was there.

I don't think, in fact, that it was the lung cancer that was causing the downward move.  He has had terrible head pain since he had shingles 6 or 7 years ago. He couldn't hear very much any more.  He couldn't play his flute. I think he was probably about to have his driving licence removed.  He had packed his bags and was ready to move on. No longer any will to live.

Even so, we were not expecting the phone call just after midnight (Japan time) this morning to say that he had died. We think that it might have been a heart attack that carried him off unexpectedly. Stella says that he woke up very agitated, desperate to get out of bed, everything was hurting. She persuaded him to lie back down and he just faded away.  Luckily Belinda was there. Simon and Jacob drove down when they heard the news.  Many of the family are there today.

Lindsey and I will fly back to Melbourne (as planned) this evening. It sort of worked out better that we weren't there for the occasion, otherwise we too would have gone today and I think Stella would have been a bit overwhelmed with visitors. As it is, we can spread the visits out a bit.

I can tell you, however, that a death in the middle of the night is VERY noisy, even if it isn't particularly noisy for the one has died.  Phones ring. And ring again. Messages come in. Messages go out.  Once everyone has calmed down and gone to bed and then woken up again, more phones ring and things need to be done and many conversations happen.

Poor Sandy was sharing a three bed room with us last night.  I don't think she got much sleep!

Stella and Tony at Le Petit Tractor last summer
Vale, Tony.  A long life, lived mostly with enthusiasm

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