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.


13 thoughts on “RIP Viv Ansell (1919-2011)

  1. My very sincere condolences to you and your family, John. I know full well what it is to lose a parent but you can draw a lot of comfort from knowing that he did live a very long and happy life and I’m sure he wouldn’t have wanted it to continue if he was incapacitated in any way. You will also draw much comfort from having family and friends around you at this time. It certainly does give you a new perspective on life. All the best to you and your family.

  2. So very sorry to hear of your father John. My thoughts are with you and your family. I wish you the best…

  3. So sorry John…I know how you must feel as my dad passed on Waitangi day. I think having fore knowledge that the end is nigh helps a lot in coping when it actually happens. One piece of advice I would give is..if you and your Mum have been used to having many people around helping care for your Dad try and keep in close touch with them rather than having them disappearing out of their thought for you probably”needing space” etc…..when Dad went the sudden void of people around was noticeable,…and Mum and I felt lonely right when having people about would have been great to talk to….

  4. Nothing really can prepare one for such a thing.
    Sinking feeling dread gives way to what? Stay
    strong as you can manage; support your mum;
    be stoic. Mere words meant no matter how well
    remain empty of solace, despite best efforts.

  5. John, I am so sorry to hear that. I thought you might find this comforting, you probably already know it, but it bears repeating.

    Death is nothing at all
    I have only slipped away into the next room
    I am I and you are you
    Whatever we were to each other
    That we still are

    Call me by my old familiar name
    Speak to me in the easy way which you always used
    Put no difference into your tone

    Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow

    Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together
    Play, smile, think of me, pray for me
    Let my name be ever the household word it always was
    Let it be spoken without effect
    Without the trace of a shadow on it

    Life means all that it ever meant
    It is the same as it ever was
    There is absolutely unbroken continuity

    Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
    I am but waiting for you
    For an interval
    Somewhere very near
    Just around the corner
    All is well

  6. John, although we’ve never met, my father (Alan Hannay) and yours were connected for many years through the BNZ and in fact my mother and father met and married under Viv’s watch as their manager back in the late 1960’s. Although dad died some 12 years ago now, mum still talks with fondness about Viv, about his role in their lives and I’m certain he lives on in the many conversations and thoughts of people across New Zealand whose lives he touched. My deepest sympathies.

  7. Our most heartfelt hugs to you and yours John.

    I am so sorry to learn of your loss. We all have to face these events at some point in our lives but it always happens too soon doesn’t it.

    More big hugs to you and yours.

    It sounds like your father has lived an awesome life and it deserves to be celebrated!

    Our thoughts are with you and your family.

    . . . . . sorry, i can’t help myself . . . . more big hugs!

  8. Hi John
    Yes i saw it in the paper and thought of you and what wordsmithing you could do for a fitting eulogy.
    My own dad died of Prostrate cancer. That is to say he lay out flat for a couple of years before the inevitable. He got pretty frustrated BUT he could still do the Dominion crossword 3 days before he died. It’s a big worry for me coz I can’t do it now!
    Have a celebration and enjoy the closeness and bond of family. My regards to Murray as well.

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