wings and things

Anthony’s death

on August 26, 2017
Anthony, you are still here with us – with me, and with Ming. You can be seen in all of the camellias you planted, and heard in the squawking of your guinea fowl. You are inside the taste of salmon mornay, and the aroma of the dairy cows. But you are also not here  – stained glass of my soul, the king of Paradise Road. Beautiful husband. Beautiful father. We love you, Anthony.
The above is what I wrote for the death notice in today’s newspaper. Anthony died on Wednesday night at 9.40pm after a short struggle with pneumonia. It’s Saturday today and I keep forgetting and thinking I need to get to the nursing home. Last Friday he was alert and cheerful and that was the day he said his final words to me – “You’re still beautiful, Jules.” I wrote about that in my previous post, not knowing then, as I answered “You’re the beautiful one, Ants” that this would be our last conversation.
Anthony died after his first ever dose of morphine. The doctor said this would take care of any pain he might be in and also help ease his breathing. I rang Ming and his girlfriend, Amber, and asked them to come and chat with the doctor who had told me that it was impossible to predict, but that it would not be a matter of weeks, but days. After the doctor left, the three of us went outside because, even though Anthony was barely conscious, I didn’t want him to hear my question to Ming – “Do you want me to ring you straight away if Dad dies in the night?” It was a silly question really because of course Ming said yes. I had poured myself a small whisky from the bottle in Anthony’s cupboard and was sipping it happily, relieved that would he would be comfortable for the next few days, when the nurse on duty came out and said, “He’s gone.”
I couldn’t believe it and we raced back into his room. It is difficult to describe the thunderstorm of shocked grief that washed through me so I am not even going to try to express that here. I thought it was a matter of days, not minutes.
One of the most wonderful things about Anthony’s death is that, despite the many, many years of his illnesses, he didn’t suffer until just before he died.
I looked at his tiny, diminished body, and I saw a giant of a man.
Oh how much I love you, Ants.
PS. The reference to Paradise Road was not meant to be metaphorical. We do actually live on Paradise Road.

79 responses to “Anthony’s death

  1. My condolences to you and Ming. Anthony was a true gentleman. Always remembered in your hearts.

  2. This is heartbreaking, but beautiful, as has been the whole long journey. Anthony must have felt surrounded by love to the very end. Wishing you and Ming all the love, strength and support you need in the days and months ahead,

  3. Anonymous says:

    Omg Julie & Ming sending my love to you ..Gone to be with his mum looking over the farm ..Such a strong courageous man till the end forever in my heart Trish Kim & Zac

  4. Ann Koplow says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Julie. Much love to you.

  5. mimijk says:

    My heart broke when I read this – I’m so, so sorry, Julie and Ming. What a wonderful love you shared with all of us. And love sustains. And I pray that Anthony’s journey isn’t done – that his essence will remain forever. Sending love and prayers and my deepest condolences.

  6. ksbeth says:

    i am so sorry and i am so grateful for the time you had together and for your last words to each other.

  7. Suzy Shipman says:

    So sorry to hear this. Sending hugs x

  8. Oh my goodness ! Just got a shock scrolling through and seeing this. Thoughts are with you and Ming. You’re probably feeling like a couple of stunned mullets right now for no matter how prepared we think we are its still a stunning shock that our brains don’t want to or can’t come to terms with.Take care of each other and go with the flow, up, down, around and around, no right or wrong just go wherever your feelings take you, good, bad and otherwise and know everyone is here for you.

  9. Heather and Niel says:

    We are sadden by Anthony’s passing and your enormous loss . Your love and care for him has been so beautiful and inspiring Julie . We send our love to you and Ming xxxx

  10. Anonymous says:

    Fresh sobbing as I read your post my beautiful daughter. I loved your amazing Anthony too. I have never seen love like this, between a man and woman, and I am humbled to have shared this astonishing journey. He will never, ever be forgotten. Courage, my lovely child.

  11. Julie, I am so sorry to read your news. Love and hugs to you and Ming x

  12. My sincere condolences. You have been so brave sharing your story with the world. May you find peace.

  13. Robyn Jones says:

    My heart is with you and Ming, Julie. Following your blog I could see what a man he was right to your last post; Anthony loved, and was so loved in return. Robyn Jones XX

  14. misifusa says:

    Jules, tears rolled down my cheeks as I read this post dear one. Know that you, Ming and Ants are in my prayers and my heart is so sad for all of you. Your post was written as you have beautifully written always – we feel your loss of Ants as you have made him and your family, so alive within every post. We, your readers, feel as if we know you. We giggle with you and we cry with you. Sending heartfelt hugs xoxo

  15. bulldog says:

    Oh Dear Julie this is not what I wanted to read today… my deepest of sympathies to you and Ming… having followed your blog for so long reading your writings about your visits and the progress of poor Ants illness.. all I can say is Sterkte Julie to you and Ming..

  16. Writer Lori says:

    Oh Julie, I am so, so sorry for your loss. Sending deepest condolences to you and Ming in this tremendously sad time. Anthony’s was a beautiful, strong spirit…that came through in every post. His spirit will always be with you…of that I am certain.

  17. Sending condolences to you and Ming, Julie. Losing a loved one is always difficult but especially if he is the love of your life. I will always remember your marriage as one of the greatest love stories I’ve ever read about. Hugs. ❤️❤️❤️

  18. pastorpete51 says:

    Oh may you find comfort and grace at this time. God who cares for sparrows also cares for our hearts when we are small and weak and He covers us with His hand.

  19. Oh Jules, I’m so sorry to hear. There are no words to say really as I can’t quite imagine how you must feel, yours and Anthony’s is a beautiful love story, and I’ve loved reading about it and your journey – the way you so vulnerably and honestly shared it has been something truly stunning. I can only hope that one day I experience something nearly as special. Praying for peace, hope and comfort that surpasses all understanding for you and Ming and all the family. Much love xox

  20. Rhonda says:

    With all there is, I send love to you and my deepest condolences to you, Ming, and Ms. Meg. Thank you for sharing your amazing life stories with us so that we could know, through you, just how special your magnificent, giant of a man was and how, if we’re lucky enough to find our equal in love, we can face anything in the shadow of that love. You are a blessed woman my friend Jules, and we are better people for knowing you. My heart to yours dear friend….xoxo

  21. Oh dear Jules, I am so sorry to hear of Anthony’s passing and grateful to know he did not suffer in pain long.

    Your love is such a beautiful thing, like a priceless diamond, it glitters in every facet of the sun. In memory and in life, your life will always sparkle.

    Sending you love and healing light dear Jules for you and Ming and Ants and all your family and friends as you remember, Anthony, a giant of a man. ❤

  22. Oh Julie….the distance right now is heartbreaking.

    What a beautiful vision I have always had of Anthony. We never met and yet I feel the loss of his presence through you. Just like I grew to love him through you. Your giant of a man has graced us all, through you, with humor, strength and vitality for life.

    I grieve for you all. And celebrate him with gratitude of knowing him.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Julie I am in tears for you and Ming..

  24. Nicky says:

    Julie, I am in tears

    for both you and Ming.. love you both xx

  25. Vicki says:

    Dearest Julie,
    I am so sorry to hear that your beloved Anthony is no longer here. So sad to hear of your loss, but I know he will remain forever in your hearts. The love and friendship you shared remains one of the most beautiful and touching love affairs of all time and my heart goes out to you, Ming and all your family at this sudden passing.
    Just know that he laughed and loved right to the end.
    I’ve followed your blog for what seems like forever and shed more than a few tears as your journey with Anthony progressed from the farm to the Nursing Home, and now…….Beyond.
    Much Love

  26. Julie, I care so much. I can say you have been the most beautiful, gracious person all along. You’ve told Anthony’s story … yours and Ming’s story all along … so many people care. So many people know through your voice the feelings, grief you’ve been experiencing all along as you watched, experienced all Anthony went through as his body, mind changed. All through this … you’ve been there for him. I love you for that … in my book … you are an amazing person … one I have the highest respect for. In my experience of my own grief … your grief didn’t just begin … you’ve been going through grief in stages all along for so long until … now. I send my most Heartfelt love, prayers to you and Ming. You are beautiful people. Love, Gloria ❤

  27. Oh Jules, I am so sorry for your loss. I feel as though I have come to know Ants through you. I can hear his booming voice echoing with laughter. Hugs and love for you and Ming. ♡
    Diana xo

  28. shoreacres says:

    Julie, I’m so sorry. I pray that both you and Ming will be comforted by the knowledge that you provided the sort of support and love to Ants that few ever experience. I hardly can believe that it’s happened, although of course I knew the day would come. His memory will live with many of us who never had the privilege of meeting him in person.

  29. KDKH says:

    I am so sorry. It is not uncommon for the morphine to have such an effect, although that is not the intention. I’m not surprised that he departed while you were not there. Your love has anchored him throgh many illnesses and it would be so hard to go if your love was in the room. I wish I could comfort you, but I feel that is far out of reach.

  30. You were lucky to have each other, all three of you. My condolences, Julie and Ming.

  31. Anonymous says:

    So sad to hear of Ants passing. My condolences and love to you, Ming, Megs and all who knew and loved him. All through the years of knowing you Jules, the love of your Soulmate, and husband, shines through. Now and forever.

  32. angelasommers says:

    Dearest Julie, from far across the ocean, I cry with you and Ming, although I don’t know you personally, throughout the years of reading your beautiful blog, and sharing the same birthday with Anthony, I have come to feel like the three of you have been part of my family for a long time. You have been a steadfast rock not only in your beloved’s life, but to everyone around you, proving that love conquers all.
    My heart and feelings go out to you, giving you a big virtual hug, and pray that you will have peace in your heart and soul. Sending you lots of love!

  33. batgurrl says:

    May you find peace too Jules. My love and support goes to you and your family. Your sharing this journey that started with the birds has made us all your friends. We may be thousands of miles across an ocean but our hearts are near to you.

    Stay strong … yes you are an amazing woman with more fortitude than many. Take care of Ming and your family but don’t forget Jules.

    Robin & the Crows

  34. Dearest Julie, This journey with you and Anthony has been so deeply moving and now as I read this and write to you my heart feels so sad. Sending you lots of love. Paulette

  35. letstalkaboutfamily says:

    My condolences to you and Ming, Julie. I have followed along with you on this journey and my eyes fill with tears for you now. No matter how well you are prepared, somehow it is always a surprise. You wrote beautifully today, as you usually do. People all over the world are thinking of you now. Sending love and prayers.

  36. Peace be with you. Beautiful post.

  37. avian101 says:

    My most sincere condolences to you and your son. It’s time for Anthony to rest and his soul to live eternally. G-d bless him also you and your family.

  38. susanpoozan says:

    Unbelievable! At least his end was quick and pain free though very shocking for you and Ming. All my sympathy and so pleased I knew of such a wonderful man through your words.

  39. Judy says:

    Dearest Julie, All the anticipation you suffered over losing him has not prepared you for this moment. The shock and sorrow – I have few words to say.
    Just know I am thinking of you and wishing I could hug you right now. You have been on a grief journey for such a long time. Praying the road your are on isn’t torturous forever. Ants wouldn’t want you to suffer. He is with you – your angel in the sky.
    Much love to you and Ming.

  40. Oh my Julie this made me cry and feel oh so sad, even though we have never meet I still feel like I know you all and feel so sad about your loss, sending hugs and love via cyberspace

  41. Oh darling girl – and what a road you and Anthony have walked – such wonderful words for you to share wwith him all your time together and right up to the end. Bless you.. and all my love – mercy what a journey you have shared with us . c

  42. tootlepedal says:

    Our thoughts are with you and Ming.

  43. arlene says:

    So sorry to hear about this Julie. condolence to you and the whole family. May His face shine on our dear brother Anthony. May His eternal light shine upon him.

  44. ingridrick says:

    Dear Julie and Ming
    I’m so sorry to hear this sad sad news this morning of Anthony’s passing . There is no doubt he will live on with you and through you both for ever.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you both and all your family Jules. Your wonderful memories will be with you always and what a great legacy he leaves with you of the great love story of the century …
    much love

  45. frangipani says:

    So sorry to read of this – the end was expected yet so abrupt when it finally came. Thank you for your sharing all these years, I feel as though I know you and Anthony so well. Have enjoyed reading the brilliant repartee between the both of you! And it gave me so much comfort and inspiration in my own caregiving journey. Sending you love and condolences xxx.

  46. Thank you for sharing your long, loving journey with us, Julie. We now share your grief. I only hope the support of this group helps you find some measure of comfort. My thoughts are with you and Ming.

  47. Gil says:

    Blessings to you Julie, May the coming days hold many precious memories for you all. Thank you for sharing the journey with us all and know you have helped many understand about Dementia and the nursing home experience. Much Love xx

  48. Yvonne says:

    My llve to you and Ming. Your life will feel so empty without that man you loved so much.

  49. Yvonne says:

    My love to you and Ming. Your lifw will feel so empty without that much loved man.

  50. Oh I am so sorry. Tears for you here on the SW Washington coast. So far away. I am sure there are tears around the world tonight for Ants.

  51. Jane Chesebrough says:

    That last conversation was a beautiful message from your beloved Anthony.I am so sorry for your loss, Julie and Ming.I am crying as I write this, such a love story.Do take care and write as you are able.

  52. Janet M says:

    My thoughts are with you and Ming during this sad time. Take care. x

  53. I am so very torn at reading this news. Sad that the man you love so dearly is gone. Happy that he is finally in a place of peace and is restored to the man he was before… the man who captured your heart and changed your life forever. You, Ming and your entire family are in my thoughts, prayers, and forever in my heart for sharing this journey!


  54. Thank you Julie… for posting and telling us of Anthony’s passing. I know that you are and will be grieving …. and you took time to let us know. I am so sorry for your loss… Please know that I will keep you, Ming and family in my prayers for the days ahead…. Love Diane ❤

  55. dou dou says:

    Oh Julie, I am so sorry. I haven’t posted in so long because I am rarely on my blog, but I have followed your story, usually reading your posts late at night on my phone. You and Anthony have such a true love story, nothing will ever change that. He will always be with you.

  56. judyrutrider says:

    We, your readers, were not prepared for this either and share your shock and grief. Please don’t stop writing to us, for us…we still look to you to show us the way through love, loss, and hope for the future.

  57. Thinking of you and Ming today. Watched your excellent TED talk. Seeing Ming at 23 makes me realize I have been following this blog for years. Anyway, you are on my mind.

  58. Julie… some thoughts in the form of a poem….Diane

    There are moments in life
    That are meant to be
    Though at the time
    We cannot foresee.
    The future’s unknown
    And the years go by
    And then comes the time
    That you cannot deny
    The love that you feel
    Is so very real.
    The years that you shared
    And a son you adored
    Brought many blessings
    And your love soared.
    Though challenges came
    One fact remains true
    Devotion and love
    Came to each of you.
    Though sadness is present
    Memories will be sweet
    For the love that you shared
    Made your life so complete!

  59. I am sincerely sorry for your loss. I can imagine your shock. No matter how prepared we might be, we’re never ready to say good-bye to a loved one. I send positive thoughts to you and your family now and in the months to come.

  60. Margaret & John Hector says:

    Dear Julie and Ming

    Thank you for the email. Anthony will always be remembered as an amazing man. Thank you both for always seeing that. We as a family are so lucky to have relatives who really care.

    Love John and Margaret.

  61. Heather Hugo says:

    Oh! Dearest Jules what you have written is so beautiful. Love you, Heather

    Sent from my iPad


    • lensgirl53 says:

      Jules, my tears are flowing for you and Ming right now. I feel so close to you, knowing all of you through your words of joy, pain, and endless humor. Even when death is imminent the actual moment of transition into God’s loving arms is to us, an unbearable surrender.

      I pray for you to have the peace that passes all understanding. Anthony, although he never knew it, enriched my life though your loving eyes and devotion. He is handsome and whole again just beyond the veil, friend. Think of that whenever you say his name. Wrapping you with hugs of love.

      Dale, Brandon’s mom

  62. I am so sorry for your loss of Anthony, Jules. Over the years I have grown to love him too, through your words.

  63. Oh, I am so sorry. This seems so sudden for you and Ming. I pray for your peace through this time. You have been a wonderful wife and caregiver. No one could have done it better.

  64. zannyro says:

    I’m so sorry to hear of your loss, I know there will be difficult days ahead and you’ve been through so much…sending prayers.

  65. Julie, I am holding you, Ants and Ming in my prayers and meditations. What a blessing that his passing was so easy and peaceful. Sending so much love to you, Nicole xx

  66. Lisa Rest says:

    Oh Julie I almost cannot believe it, I am so sorry and saddened reading this. But you have built such a wonderful monument to Anthony’s life and struggles and we are all better for it. It may seem like all you have is time now, but take your time. And hugs to you and Ming.

  67. Val Boyko says:

    Oh such sadness when the end comes. Your eulogy is beautiful Julie.
    Sending love and light to support you in this time of grief and loss. 💛🙏💛

  68. Just catching up Jules, I am sorry to hear of Anthony’s passing. Although it has been a while I have followed & read your journey as I could. Wishing you comfort and strength my friend.

  69. aFrankAngle says:

    I’ve was off-line for almost a month … and just started making my rounds again. When I saw the news a few posts ahead, I wanted to start here. Peace to you.

  70. Love to you and Ming. May comfort hold you during this transitional time.

  71. I have been offline Jules, and only just seen this. No words….sending you loving kindness xx

  72. dogdaz says:

    Even in the last moments of his life you were there for him. May you and Ming find peace in this sad time. – Lorian.

  73. I’m so sorry for your loss. Just saw your post. Whether or not a death is expected, the finality is so overwhelming. Hugs, Becky.

  74. I am so sorry to hear of your loss.
    Thinking of you.

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