In Loving Memory
Updated: Mar 18, 2020
Dad was a remarkable man. A strong, resilient, courageous, and truly handsome man until the end.
We learnt more about Dad during his cancer journey than at any other time in our lives. His determination to fight was incredible. He was diagnosed in September 2018 with a rare form of acute myeloid leukaemia. Without treatment, he was given 3 weeks to live, and with the treatment, we were told he wasn’t likely to make Christmas 2018. Over a year later after gruelling chemo, 2 cardiac arrests, 2 life-threatening cases of pneumonia, multi-organ sepsis, 3 near-fatal gastro-internal bleeds, 3 life-saving surgeries, 2 bleeds on the brain, a stint in a coma and a pseudomonas facial infection and finally influenza, he continued to fight with dignity until the end. Our lasting memories of him will be his unfaltering spirit, his humour, his smiles and his love of life. We smile with fondness and sheer pride when we think of him in his woolly hat and Porsche jacket – walking 2 to 3 miles a day until his last days.
Cancer is devastating but unexpectedly for us, it also brought joy, love and friendship.
Dad’s diagnosis gave us time to share memories and talk about his life. It gave us time to laugh and cry together, to embrace, to hold hands, to hold each other tight. For that we are grateful.
There were many times during Dad’s treatment that we laughed – mostly because Dad was such a comedian. During his 11 weeks in isolation during chemo, we shared his love of meerkats (dads name for urine sample bottles), his friendship with the ward’s cook that Dad renamed Princess, and his love of auxiliary nurse Sonia whom he gave the grand title of ‘The Best Bed Maker.” Everyone on Palatine Ward loved him because he spoke to everyone; he always had a smile and had a natural way of making everyone feel important in his journey.
Christie Hospital was a place where we made friends, where we had time to think about what is truly important in life. We had the joy of attending the wedding of Oliver and Katie in the hospital garden and then shared the warmth of the friendship of Katie after Oliver’s death. Meeting Katie gave us hope about all that is good in people. The selflessness of a young woman in her 20s who showed enormous courage but above all it was her innate desire to share love by giving away her hand made felt hearts that made me so humble. It was something so simple, so raw, and so honest that in those moments of meeting her it gave life real meaning. We hope you are able to take a moment to think about the meaning of sharing something so simple.
After dad died in December 2019, we wanted to create something positive. SILK ELEPHANT is the result - simple acts of loving-kindness (SILK) and a nod to dad with ELEPHANT (small steps - his favourite saying - you can't eat an elephant all at once).
During Dad's 15-month cancer journey, we unexpectedly found that it was often the simple acts of kindness of other people that helped us through the most difficult times. Dad's diagnosis came at a time when we were also coping with one of our children's mental health issues, so life really was tough.
We were surrounded by love and we shared love in the simplest of things - a text, a call, the offer of a cuppa, food parcels, a Tupperware of soup, a doorstop hug, a Cortado for dad, a message of support for Elliott, the offer of a lift and so many more acts of kindness. It was all of those simple acts of loving-kindness that has such a positive impact on us all during such a difficult time.
Zoe Holland & Paul Nichols (Founding Trustees)
Heather Nichols - Dave's Loving Wife