A MUM has recalled the devastating final days of her husband’s life, after he lost his battle to Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in January this year.
Janelle Brunton-Rennie from New Zealand, has taken to social media to share her grief, explaining the 12 days leading up to her husband’s death have been “too painful” for her to revisit.
Janelle’s husband Kurt tragically passed away in January this year, after battling Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma – an aggressive blood cancer.
The 41-year-old dad of baby daughter Sage, found a lump in his abdomen the day after the couple’s third wedding anniversary in 2018 – and despite undergoing immunotherapy treatment in America for three months, Kurt passed away almost a year to the day later.
Kurt was buried in the custom wedding suit, shoes and the tie that he wore to marry Janelle just four years earlier.
Four months on, and in a bid to process her grief, Janelle – who explained the pain she experienced in those 12 days “was more intense than anything she could have imagined” has spoken out about the heartbreaking time.
“There are 12 days of our journey in the last year that have been too painful for me to visit,” she explained in the first post.
“Too painful for me to unbox. Too painful for me to even speak about until now. I never posted during that period. I couldn’t.
“From the phone call I received from Kurt on Dec 27th, to the day he passed on Jan 7th.
“I’ve packed it away, and haven’t been able to visit it yet for the depth of pain I experienced and witnessed over that time was more intense than anything I could have imagined.
“I need to be able to access it though, to process it, to try and let it out.”
Janelle recalls how Kurt arrived home on New Year’s Eve, after receiving treatment in America.
“On Dec 26 Kurt had what they termed a ‘repositioning scan’. He rang me immediately on the morning of Dec 27 when he received the result,” she explained.
“I answer the phone and hold my breath. I realised he was in tears. ‘Baby it’s bad news’. I remember the words ‘innumerable tumours’, ‘progressive disease’ and something about ‘massive’.
“… Kurt tells me there is still a chance they can kick the T Cells off again with multiple doses of a drug, but no one seems entirely confident anymore.
“Drs have advised immediate flights home to NZ where he can still receive doses of the kick off drug.
“… He lands early morning on New Year’s Eve. I meet him at the international arrivals gate. I’ve prepared mentally for the worst to confront me, it was.
I just sit there with my head on his chest and weep
“I take over the wheel chair from the attendant. I just want to get him home.
“I hold his frail hand all the whole way home, and reassure him we are still fighting, and I will continue to do everything we can.”
Tragically, after rapidly deteriorating at home in between doses of the drug, Kurt is admitted to hospital.
In another post, Janelle explained: “Kurt’s abdomen now feels like it’s full of large rocks. So many large and hyper-fast growing tumours.”
The mum later recalls the moment she realised Kurt wasn’t going to make it.
“We have lost,” she said.
“What did we do wrong. How did I fail him like this. We were perfect.
“I’m so sorry Sage – Mama and Dadda fought their hardest… we threw everything we could at this.”
Over the next two days, Janelle watched as select members of Kurt’s family visited the hospital to say their goodbyes.
In a devastating post, the mum explained the heart wrenching final moments of Kurt’s life, explaining she was “torn in half” knowing she had to let him go.
“I only let a few of Kurt’s very closest visit him in hospital over the weekend. I feel very protective of his privacy, his dignity. I don’t want them to remember him like this.
“Each one has some time alone with him to say goodbye. I wait outside, drink another cup of coffee, so much coffee. Can’t eat. Can’t sleep.
“Monday morning, Ward nurse greets me with surprise and pity. I’d heard the term ‘death rattle’… but until you’ve heard that sound, you cannot even begin to comprehend it.
“It’s like the opposite of the effect of listening to the waves has on your soul. I can feel his immense discomfort with every laboured, painful breath.
“Sage comes in again after dinner as he seems to have gotten even worse which I didn’t believe was even possible. He has such a strong, fit, young and healthy heart. It won’t give out.
“She kisses her Dadda and tries to stroke his arm better. This scene is unimaginable, she’s just 15 months old. Kurt’s mum and brother decide to stay on with me tonight. It’s never spoken about but we know why.
“9.50, Kurt’s breathing seems to get a little less painful sounding all of a sudden… I’m so relieved, then it stops…. the longest 10 seconds of my life, oh god, breathe, breathe damnit.
“Thank god another breath, and another, then it stops… another 10… a longer 10, what’s happening, what’s happening… one more, thank Christ, then… this very moment is the most vague, yet vivid and painful moment of it all.
“Waiting for that next breath… waiting, holding my own, waiting… holding myself back from jumping up to commence CPR… breathe baby… breathe…. breathe.
“I’m torn in half, I have to let him go, I know that escaping his body and leaving this suffering behind him is what’s best for Kurt.
“I have my left hand on his chest. My right hand holding his. I feel his heart stop. My head falls to his chest. What did I just witness.
“What on earth just happened. I just sit there with my head on his chest and weep.
“I refuse to leave for an hour or so, not until his hand is cold and I can feel that he’s not with us anymore.
“Just to make sure his soul has left so he’s not going to be lonely when I go. I’m in shock, disbelief.”
Following Kurt’s death, Janelle revealed the grief was “all consuming and at times disabling”.
Explaining she threw herself into planning Kurt’s farewell, Janelle said: “As I stand there and look at him in his casket, I realise that on that hour, exactly four years prior, I was standing before him, admiring him in exactly the same clothing as we exchanged our vows.
“As the realisation hits me, I’m overwhelmed, and I feel him walk up behind me and put his big reassuring arms around me – there was no mistaking it.”
Four months on, Janelle urges others to “stop and take a minute”.
“Are you truly happy?” She wrote.
“What are the things that make your eyes sparkle & your heart smile? Do those, with your special humans, every day, do those.
“Because one day… well one day, you’ll have so many beautiful memories to reminisce upon together in those inevitable final days.”
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