Cecil’s Story

Cecil’s Story – told by his wife

The love of my life was my husband, Cecil.  We were married 52 years, have 6 children, 12 grandchildren, and 22 great-grands.  Cecil was his happiest when all, or even part of the family was together. 

He loved being outdoors. We always had a boat and lived near or on the water.  He taught all the kids, and most of the grands to water ski.  His love of the outdoors included driving everywhere, all around the world.  He would have driven around the world if there were bridges over the oceans.   We have driven through every state in the union, including Alaska and Hawaii.  Our European/Scandinavian/Great Britain/New Zealand/Australian trips were all spent with him behind the wheel.  

Picture of Cecil's Family

One 6 week trip we left South Carolina driving across the US to California, then north through Oregon, Washington, into British Columbia, through the Yukon Territory and throughout Alaska.  We came home by way of Southern Canada.   In fact, his love of driving was so strong that the hardest thing I ever had to do was take that right away from him when I felt he could become a danger to himself, or worse others.  I tried to make that up to him after the fact.  I had him cremated with a steering wheel, his driver’s license and a picture of his family.  I'm sure he's back behind the wheel with a big smile on his face.

The end of Cecil’s story is a horror story.  Cecil, was diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment in 2017.  The first few years weren't so bad.  Over time his memory got worse.  We moved to The Villages, Florida in 2019.  In hindsight, this was not a smart thing to do.  Dementia patients do not handle change well.  

Cecil was fighting two demons, leukemia and dementia.  His oncologist told us that he could no longer be treated for the leukemia, because of the dementia.  The oncologist suggested Hospice.  Cecil went steadily downhill.   He knew something was wrong, and couldn't understand why it couldn't be fixed.  He wanted to do all the things he used to. Then he had a couple of serious falls and broke his hip.  Even though hip surgery was a risk, we (the children and I) decided to go ahead with it in hopes that with everything else, he wouldn’t also be bedridden.  Sadly, our hopes were dashed and he was bedridden the rest of his life.  

Apparently, the anesthesia kicked the dementia into high gear.  Soon, he could no longer communicate, could not swallow, control his bodily functions, etc.  I never knew if his moaning was because of pain, or his way of trying to tell me something.  It was heartbreaking to sit by helplessly and watch a human being suffer like this.  My pain and suffering did not come from the fact that he died, but from the WAY THAT HE DIED.

Had he been on life support, I would have had the Power of Attorney to free him of his suffering.  Had he been my family pet going through this, I could have euthanized him. But in his case, I and our family, could only watch him waste away.  Many times, during the course of our life, we talked about how when our quality of life was gone, it would be time for us to go.  He did not choose to suffer his last days like he did, it was not how he wanted to go.

From that point on, I determined that I would become an advocate for Death with Dignity. Even though this law would not have helped my Cecil, because of the dementia, many others suffer needlessly, and would be able to go out on their terms, when they decide they’ve had enough.  Hospice is wonderful option and fills the need for many, but not all.  Some still suffer terribly

My goal is to get the Death with Dignity Law passed in Florida and every other state in the Union so NO human being ever has to die the way my beloved Cecil did.

Picture of Cecil