Albert married the woman of his life in the Elisabeth-TweeSteden Hospital in mid-March. She died three days later. The farewell during the funeral was heartbreaking, yet he also looks back with gratitude on the care and help of the Tilburg hospital staff. “The way we have been treated, it couldn’t be better.”
Albert* lists the last two weeks of March. A wedding, a death, a birthday and a funeral. “A roller coaster”, he describes aptly. The sadness is like an open nerve, but the processing is in full swing. “I got off that roller coaster carriage and now on my way to the exit,” he assures.
His wife had been his regular companion for twenty years. Living together and both daughters are now grown and on their own two feet. “She already had a long history as a lung patient. Last August she was hospitalized again. When I visited her, I had to register myself as ‘the partner of’ and I didn’t like that. So I proposed to her. I didn’t want to be a partner but her husband.”
It was written in big letters in their agenda after that. The wedding would be on March 14 in their hometown of Goirle. “Simple and small on Monday morning,” says Albert. But the route to the rings turned out not to be that easy. The doctor had to come at eight o’clock in the morning. After a medical examination and a short deliberation, the ambulance did not drive to the town hall but directly to the hospital in Tilburg South.
“They were already aware of that,” says Albert. One of the nurses offered to arrange an emergency wedding. A wedding hall was set up, complete with wedding official, photographer, coffee, bubbles and flowers. At three o’clock in the afternoon both names appeared on the marriage certificate and the perpetual vow was sealed. But sadly enough, that came to an end just as quickly.
“My wife was getting worse and worse. She was given medication and extra oxygen. I stayed with her in the hospital room. But on Wednesday night she got into a critical condition. Our children joined them.” The youngest daughter had brought her own seven-week-old baby. For a moment, three generations shared the sickbed.
Thanks to a revival, it was possible for the bride to also say goodbye to the other family members. Albert: “All the stories have been told. It was a pleasure for my wife. She always wanted to know who would come to visit. She lasted until ten thirty in the evening, then she died.”
It still feels like an unexpected ending to him. “We both knew her health was bad. But I didn’t know exactly how bad. I think she was aware of it.” The happy hospital wedding softens the abrupt ending somewhat. “We had a beautiful day. This should have lasted for years. Of course we have often talked about ‘what if’ together, but never experienced it so urgently.”
The aftercare has served him well. “I would like to congratulate the management of the Elisabeth-TweeSteden Hospital with their staff. The way they have taken care of us is fantastic. It couldn’t be better. The employees not only had an eye for the patient but for everyone around. also time for a conversation, a comforting shoulder”, he looks back.
His wife just missed her sixtieth birthday. He himself experienced his 56th birthday between her death and the funeral. “A very strange series,” he notes.
* Albert is a fictitious name because the husband, also out of respect for his deceased wife, only wishes to be publicized anonymously.
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