A man has written an emotional letter about the last few days of his 30-year-old wife’s life following a five year battle with cancer.
Laura Vickery, from Bradford on Avon, near Bath, died on Sunday with her husband Sam by her bedside.
After fighting cancer which led to pneumonia, Laura’s body had become weak, and when the time came, Sam had to make the difficult decision not to have doctors revive her.
She was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013, the same disease that took her mother’s life 20 years earlier.
Despite Laura’s concerns, she was initially dismissed by doctors, who claimed she was too young for breast cancer.
She went through chemotherapy, radiotherapy and a mastectomy of her left breast but it was all ultimately to no avail, with Laura developing Stage Four cancer a year after being told she only had an 11 percent chance of the disease coming back.
In the final month of her life, Laura had lost two stone as she struggled to eat and swallow.
Laura spent the final few days of her life in a hospice but was ultimately rushed to hospital after losing consciousness.
In his letter, published by The Mirror, Sam reveals just how hard it was to say goodbye to his wife.
“Laura was mentally the strongest person in the world and was still determined to beat this vile disease,” Sam wrote, explaining that even when she went into the hospice, she was determined to get stronger.
She was also always worrying about Sam because of how much he was worrying about her. “Not once had I taken a break in those two and a half years and I was experiencing burnout,” he says.
But Sam found it difficult to sleep when Laura was in the hospice, because “there is nothing more unnatural than not having your wife in bed with you.”
The couple were feeling hopeful when Laura seemed more positive one day, and as Sam left her at 11.30pm the couple said to each other - as they always did - “Good night, I love you and I will see you in the morning.”
But Sam ended up seeing Laura earlier than he’d thought.
At 5.30am, he was woken up by banging on his front door. Laura had taken a turn for the worse and was asking for Sam.
Laura soon lost consciousness and Sam received the terrible news that Laura may be dying, despite the fact that mere hours earlier she’d felt better than she had in weeks.
They rushed to hospital in an ambulance, holding hands as Laura slipped in and out of consciousness. “My fear and sadness was filling with every moment,” Sam said. “She was slipping away from me and there was nothing I could do.”
Laura underwent further tests and scans at the hospital but the doctors sadly thought it was her time. “ I couldn’t even comprehend what was being said to me,” Sam said. “I said just please help her, she is a fighter and won’t give up.”
With a white blood cell count of zero, pneumonia and likely sepsis, Sam knew he would be losing his beloved wife soon.
After spending the day being visited by family and friends and watching Laura’s favourite TV show, 'Judge Judy', Sam and Laura laughed and talked about how much they loved each other.
“Before she went to sleep, I said to her ‘I want you to know how proud of you I am, how much I love you and how strong you are’,” Sam said. “She turned to me and replied, ‘Always and forever babe, I am going to beat this. Team Vickery.”
At 2am, she took another bad turn and Sam was asked whether he wanted the doctors to try and resuscitate her if her heart were to stop. “This was by far and away the hardest question I had ever been asked and I only had 10 seconds to respond,” Sam explained.
He ultimately decided not to have her resuscitated, knowing she would likely only survive another day in a coma.
“I looked at my Laura, ravaged by disease and the treatment that was supposed to help her and I leant down, kissed her on the forehead and told her it was ok to let go,” Sam said. “Five seconds later, she breathed her last breath.”
It was, Sam says, the most devastating feeling in the world. “I cried and cried and cried. I haven’t stopped crying since,” he says. “The thought that I will never see her again, has destroyed me.”
But Sam says he’s going to try and be strong because that’s what Laura would have wanted.
”Good night Belle, I love you and I will see you in the morning.
“Forever and always.
”Your Beast. Sam.”
The Indepndent UK