RIP Viv Ansell (1919-2011)

After a determined bid to defeat medical science, Dad breathed his last on Monday, exactly four weeks after his stroke.

This is my first experience of losing a close family member — a prospect I’ve been dreading for years — and I must say I’m feeling better than expected.

Perhaps it’s knowing that Dad is free of pain after living a long and happy life. Perhaps it’s the relief of seeing Mum coping so bravely with the loss of her husband of 55 years.

Or perhaps it’s the long period of adjustment that a bedside vigil affords you.

Whatever the reason, the experience has drawn our family closer together and we look forward to giving him a good sendoff on Friday.

Despite my earlier reservations about the pill that cost him his life, it’s been a privilege to witness the dedication of the doctors and nurses at Hutt and Wellington Hospitals, who cared for him like he was one of their own. 

That’s all you can ask for in the end.