KEITH Ridsdale’s eyes well up as he talks about his beloved wife Enid, who passed away last December from cancer.
At her initial diagnosis Mrs Ridsdale was given just four days to live, but medical intervention and Hospice allowed her to die peacefully at home a few months later.
“Enid was diagnosed just short of her 72nd birthday and she made it.
“She was diagnosed just short of our 50th wedding anniversary and she made it,” Mr Ridsdale said.
“But we’d been holding hands since we were seven so it was actually 65 years. We were destined to be.”
Mr Ridsdale was talking to The Courier to promote next week’s Ballarat Hospice Care and Gandarra’s Annual Celebration of Remembrance.
The non-denominational service encourages the community to come together to remember people who have died.
Ballarat Hospice bereavement counsellor Liz Dawson said the ceremony gave people united by a common bond the chance to reflect in their own time and space.
“The ceremony is for everyone who has experienced the grief of loss when someone they care for has died,” Ms Dawson said.
“The ceremony is for the whole community, not just for people who have been clients of Hospice or patients in Gandarra.
“It is for people who have died in hospital, at home or in accidents. Everyone is included.”
Mr Ridsdale said it would be his first ceremony to remember his wife and said Hospice had been “sensational” in their care.
“They were just so special,” he said. “You couldn’t train anyone in what they did.”
Mr Ridsdale keeps busy with caravanning and fishing but said he still struggled every day with grief.
“For the first three months, you get heaps of visitors and then all of a sudden it stops.
“But I know if I need help and assistance I can come down here (Hospice) and they’ll get my head right.”
The service will be held on Thursday at 6pm at St Patrick’s College pavilion off Wanliss Road.
If people wish to attend, they are asked to contact Ms Dawson on 5333 1118.