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    « How to maintain yourself through old age | Main | »

    04 July 2007


    Annette Farr

    Uncle Edward

    A dapper man, ramrod straight, an eye for the ladies and married to the redoubtable Auntie Elsie, for 67 years, Uncle Edward decided at the age of 94, enough was enough.
    Elsie, 92, having run the family home in a non-nonsense ‘ship-shape and Bristol-fashion’ was now in hospital incapacitated through a number of minor strokes and failing memory or possible early signs of dementia. Nursing home life loomed once discharged. Edward, too, was becoming frail, unable to look after himself and feeling his age. Elsie in hospital, Edward frail and not wanting to be a burden to anyone.

    They had lived in their modest home for some 50 years. Elsie took care of house and garden, Edward worked in the same naval establishment as a research technician on submarines until retirement and then kept himself active with regular visits to the golf course. The years were punctuated by varied holidays and caring for the family. Arthur’s wry sense of humour and artistic leanings over-ran Elsie’s apparent bossiness and they rubbed along together in an easy manner as they celebrated silver, gold and diamond wedding anniversaries.

    When, Elsie’s first stroke - coupled with Edward’s increasing frailty - signalled that it was going to be impossible for them to carry on living in the family home their three children rallied in support. They sourced and found a nursing home which catered for couples.

    But this, it would seem, didn’t rest easy with Edward. He was born on Christmas Day and decided that Good Friday was the appropriate day to bring an end to his life. His choice, asphyxiation, was, perhaps, a further ironic nod to his years of working with air and depth pressure in submarines.

    Elsie’s state of mind has tempered her bereavement. His children were truly fortunate to see their father live to such a wonderful age without loss of dignity or quality of life. His courageous decision saw to that.

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