The call came to our room at the hotel in Seattle at 1:36 pm on Saturday. We had left for the afternoon at 1:30 pm and returned about 4 hours later to several messages, the last one telling us that we were to call Eagle Ridge Hospital immediately. There we were told that Doug had thrown up at the manor, been transferred to Eagle Ridge, then transferred to Burnaby General. We were told that he was seriously ill.
The 3 of us arrived at BG at about 8:30 pm. Sam was picked up by K's friend Kerry and Kath and I went in to find Doug on oxygen and multiple intravenous lines. His blood pressure had crashed. Not long after they had to intubate him as well. His condition would not allow him to be moved for tests but they suspected an issue with the liver, pancreas, or an abdominal stroke.
It was late the next morning that they managed a CTSCAN which suggested an eschemic bowel. Doug was already on maximum levels of life support. Doug amazed the doctors because he was fully conscious. Carolyn too had arrived by then. The 3 of us started to sing hymns and Doug mouthed the words along with us. I'd ask him if that was a good one and he'd nod and smile. He tried to tell us something, but we couldn't understand, even when we tried to spell it out. But we did understand some of it. And so it was for about 2 hours when finally the surgeon and anaesthesiologist called us in for a conference. Their message to us was that the untreated condition was fatal and intervention in the form of the necessary immediate highly risky and invasive operation would also likely be fatal. Doug was too weak. He could say goodbye now or likely die in an operating room.. The decision was made. Not long after, we reentered his room, and Doug was resting comfortably without the wires and machines. Again we sang. It was hard for him to talk, but he still mouthed the words of these songs he knew so well. He told me that he loved me. He told each of the girls he loved them. He beamed to hear that Carolyn 's news that Ellie had asked Jesus into her heart a few days earlier. I cried when he lovingly told the girls to take care of their mother.
About 20 minutes later, I suggested we sing “Beyond The Sunset” , a duet often played by my mom and dad on their violins. Up to this time, the girls used Carolyn's I phone to coach them on words in the later verses, but for this song they weren't even sure of the tune. So we played a You-Tube version as lead. On the 2nd verse Doug stopped “singing” and stared upward. Then he just stopped breathing. That was the end, before the song was done.
It was an amazing passage – quiet, gentle and surrounded by the presence of God. After 16 years of a life of grace filled struggle, Jesus called him home and welcomed him with a gentle embrace.