Polly's pages (aka 'Donna Williams')

Ever the arty Autie

Vale Polly Samuel (aka ‘Donna Williams’) 1963-2017


Hello world,

Chris Samuel here, Polly’s husband.

It’s my sad duty to tell you that my beautiful wife, Polly Samuel, died on the night of Saturday 22nd April 2017.

She went as she wished, with no pain and in a palliative care ward where the staff were exemplary and acted entirely in accordance with her wishes.  They didn’t bat an eyelid when  we proceeded to have a little party in her room the afternoon of her admission with Easter eggs, raspberry lemonade and even a sip of sake.  They also didn’t ask us to keep the noise down when Polly got us up and singing and dancing to the music we had there. 🙂

Polly’s timing was impeccable, talking to the palliative nurses they told me that had she stayed home she would still have gone at the same time, her body just gave out on her in the end.   I think her vitality and activity meant that a great many people she met couldn’t see that her cancer was progressing, and I know it surprised even staff at the hospital when she went so quickly after arriving.

It goes without saying that I’m sad and I miss her terribly but given her situation I would not have wished anything else than that which happened for her. It was a privilege to be part of it. She had a good death, with life and laughter at the centre of it and one that was just as she wished.

Polly was an amazing person and I don’t think she always realised the profound effect she could have on those she met in a personal capacity.  Many of those who I’ve talked to over the past few days have let me know how she influenced them for the better, without really realising it much of the time.

We were so lucky to have had 7 months of fab time in which to live what felt like 10 years of life, as well as to prepare for this. The fact that death was not taboo in our house and that we talked about so much of what was to come means that I know that this is not the end of my world, just the end of a really wonderful chapter in my life and which will have many echoes in chapters to come.

If you would like to do something in her memory then perhaps you would consider a donation to the Anne McDonald Centre?  Anne was an old friend of ours with CP who having proved in the high court here in the 1970’s that she could communicate despite not being able to speak went on to become an advocate for all the others in her situation.  The AMC lent Polly some communication aids that allowed her to make her wishes known plainly when the ascites were too much for her to be able to speak.

Website: http://www.annemcdonaldcentre.org.au/
Donations: https://www.givenow.com.au/deal

Another cause I know Polly supported was Oxfam Unwrapped.

Website: https://unwrapped.oxfam.org.au/

You could also plant a plant for her & add a bit more colour to the world, as she did when she was here.

Please understand that there is just one of me and many, many, many of you and so if you do reply and send good wishes know that I really appreciate them but I am unlikely to be able to reply to many of you at all, if any.  Thanks for understanding this.

Now remember to skip & sing & not care what people think about you whilst you do it, and remember that whilst she’s gone physically we carry her in our hearts now.

“Just one step in front of each other, each day. In the end, that is all, we’re expected to take.” – Footsteps of a Nobody

Take care,

posted under cancer, Donna Williams