Magazines 2018 May - Jun After 56 years, I am his advocate

After 56 years, I am his advocate

26 June 2018 , 2018 May - Jun By Gaye Patterson

My husband Don and I have managed very well during many years of illness and health setbacks. We are both 76, and we have been married for 56 years. Now we are on the final stretch it seems. The Lord has been so good to us through all this.

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We’ve been inviting Canadians to share their palliative care stories in connection with the launch of the Palliative Care Toolkit, a free, practical resource on serious illness (great for small group discussion) published by The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada. We’re honoured by the stories you’ve entrusted to us to share.

By Gaye Patterson

Gaye and Don Patterson going for a walk
Don and Gaye Patterson

My husband Don and I have managed very well during many years of illness and health setbacks. Now we are on the final stretch it seems. The Lord has been so good to us through all this. We have wonderful friends and great kids who will do whatever we ask them to. We are both 76, and we have been married for 56 years.

My husband is very ill, with many conditions, some of which he has struggled with for years. He is now palliative and I am caring for him at home, with lots of help from family and friends.

We are managing one day at a time. I started respite for four hours one day a week about three months ago, and the lady is wonderful. I have no idea how long this palliative care journey will go, and as long as the Lord gives me grace and strength I will be okay. It is exhausting.

We both love the Lord. Don loves being at home, and we have a few friends that drop in and visit.

We have a wonderful church family, who even though most don’t visit anymore, pray for us. Don sleeps during the day and they never know when is a good time to come, so I do understand. We have a lady come and do the housework once a week, and someone cuts the lawn.

We were one of the founding couples of Sooke Baptist Church in the 1980s and are blessed by God through all this in amazing ways. Even this past week we had a new doctor arrive, and she had looked after us for Don’s last two hospital stays. It may sound like a small thing but it meant that I didn’t have to go through the whole story with a stranger. That is how God provides such grace and mercy. It is awful to have to retell the story every time with Don sitting there. He comprehends enough to trust me. I am his advocate. Life is good, and God is good all the time.

Read a feature story on palliative care from a recent issue of Faith Today.