Some bloggers may not want to read any more about the lives of Gaby and David.  However I am still at this stage where I keep thinking about it a lot. Recently I wrote two long replies to comments from ‘Words fall from my Eyes’ and ‘Island Traveler’. Just for recollection I want to publish these two replies here. They only touch on the lives of Gaby and David. But anyhow here is what I wrote:

Wow, Noeleen, there’s so much to remember. Both had kind, big hearts. But Gaby was very demanding. It did get too much for David over the years. He just wanted to be left alone. He led a very unhealthy life over many years and often drove Gaby’s carers round the bend with little bursts of energy, screaming, yelling. this sort of thing. But most of the time he would stay semi conscious in his room. A nursing sister who would come to see him after he had been in hospital for a while he would chase away. He would not visit his siblings any more. They just could not cope with him. The only person who could always cope best with him was his long time friend Steve. But even he could not do much for him after Gaby had died and it was apparent David could not cope on his own. However he strictly refused to make any changes in his living arrangements. until he collapsed last Christmas. Sheila, his neighbour, noticed and called an ambulance.

It’s very sad when someone ends like this. But I think he went peacefully. And this is a comfort. We do remember a lot of good things about David. He was the only person who would take on the challenging task of taking on a life together with Gaby, and he did so out of his big good heart. He stuck with Gaby right to the end. I think he had the feeling that he could not desert her. Yes, great honour to him! Dear, dear David and wonderful life loving and caring Gaby!


You are right, IT. It was quite amazing how Gaby always tried to be there for David. It must have been very difficult for her at times. Everyone kept telling her that David was too sick to stay at her place. He should be in a nursing home where he’d be given proper care. When Gaby died last year David refused to move to a different place. Any attempts by his siblings to help him were in vain. David just did not want to be helped!
For as long as Gaby was alive, the house got cleaned by Gaby’s carers. The carers often had a hard time when David was in a bad mood. If something displeased him, he would shout at them. We often wondered how Gaby and the carers could cope with all this.

The last few months of his life David received very good care in  Parramatta Nursing Home.. He was not allowed alcohol; and cigarettes he could afford only very few and had to smoke them in some outside area, wheeling himself out there a few times every day. He could not eat very well any more. It turned out there was something wrong with his gall bladder apart from many other things. But he was not an angry man any more. He didn’t give the staff any trouble. I think they liked looking after him.

For years David had always told me: Don’t worry, Mama! I could not make him change his mind about anything. 

The youngest brother of David, Anthony, took very good care of David after he collapsed last Christmas and ended up in hospital again. During the two months in hospital they had to amputate his left leg below the knee. After this he spent the last months of his life  in Parramatta Nursing Home. It’s good to know that he did get proper care there and was able to die peacefully.

– – – – –

Gabriele (Gaby) was Peter’s and my first born daughter, an extremely lively child who was struck down by poliomyelitis on her fourth birthday. She ended up being a quadriplegic. She also had breathing difficulties and needed to sleep in an Iron Lung. Towards the end of 1989, when Gaby was 32 and David 40, they moved in together into a house provided by the Department of Housing. David became Gaby’s main carer at this stage. But David was never Gaby’s only carer. At that stage Gaby was always provided extra outside help. And when David needed a break, there was always one carer who could sleep in Gaby’s house overnight so she wouldn’t be alone in the house. When we were much younger  Peter and I would sometimes stay together with our youngest daughter Caroline in the house for a few nights so that David could have a break. When David was supposed to go on holidays for five nights, he often would return already after three nights. That would then mean we, Peter, myself, and Caroline, would be able to drive back home after three nights already.

Well, this is just a bit about the lives of Gaby and David.

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Peter and David in an outside area of the Nursing Home
David was allowed to have his lunch outside. But he hardly touched it.
David gave me this Mother’s Day gift on the day Peter and I visited him. He said he had bought raffle tickets to win this to give it to me. I was very touched by this.

Here is ow another recollection I want to add:

With some departed loved ones you get the feeling that it was time for them to leave. You are grateful for the times they could be in your lives. But when the time runs out you have to accept that they really want to be somewhere else. In my family’s case I think they are at peace and with God, which is a great comfort. I am very touched by what both families did to give them the last rest. Both our daughter Gaby and her long time carer David led rather difficult lives. But there were times when they could greatly enjoy each other. And Gaby was always very life confirming and always found ways overcoming some of her disabilities. Last year Gaby died rather suddenly but knowing her disabilities not all that unexpectedly. She died when she was the most happy. David survived her by a bit over a year even though he had been in extremely bad health for many years. David’s family gave him a very good funeral and I was very touched by this.
When our daughter died so suddenly last year it was our family who put together to give her a good parting. Sadly David had neglected to inform his family. So they weren’t part of the celebration of Gaby’s life. Yes, I feel very sad about this. We shouldn’t have left it up to David to inform them. Somehow we thought because he had informed us about Gaby’s passing he would be able to ring someone in his family too. But he didn’t.
Last Mondays celebration of David’s life somehow made up for it now. We were able to talk to David’s four brothers and three sisters.