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'I've learned a lot of stuff in the last 15 months and I want to share it' BRAVE FINAL WORDS AFTER CANCER BATTLE; Adrian's message of love and hope.

Byline: JILLY BEATTIE

ADRIAN McAleese gave this interview at the Northern Ireland Hospice on January 23, 2018, believing he had about four days to live.

He was weak, in pain and exhausted but determined to leave behind an incredible but simple message that he asked to be published posthumously.

Adrian passed away peacefully in the early hours of last Monday, surrounded by people who loved him, not least his partner Tim Gough.

Tim told the Mirror after Adrian's colourful funeral service on Saturday: "He spent the last 41 days of his life living, not dying, thanks to the help of the hospice. His sense of fun and mischievousness was with him to the very end."

Adrian was given a shock diagnosis after suffering repeated chest infections. He was told he had terminal lung cancer.

But today he leaves Northern Ireland with a message of hope.

He wants to let people know cancer may be cruel and indiscriminatory but that he never had to compromise on life, and he was never beaten thanks to the love and support of his best friend and partner, Tim Gough, and his hospice family.

Adrian, 48, said: "I think I have about another four days left on this earth and then I will be walking through a door to another life, another world.

"Someone else will come into this room and on it will go. This is the reality of terminal illness, the reality of life and death.

"There is nothing glamorous about it but there's nothing to be afraid of either and there's a lot that is good.

"I know now that we have everything we need right here if we just know what to look for.

"The only thing I am really sad about is leaving my best friend and partner Tim and I'm worried about him.

"I ask everyone I trust to look after him. I whisper in their ear thinking he can't hear me, but he does. I know he does and I know he doesn't mind.

"He has been my strength and my support and I couldn't have lived for this length of time without him. Every day his love for me has given me more time. But I am tired now and ready to say goodbye. Yesterday Tim met with me and my sister and they agreed to tell me that I had their blessing to go.

"It was deeply emotional and very hard for them, but I feel like the decision has been made.

"I am free now and I can go when I want. It's in God's hands now.

"Before Tim said that, I probably felt I had to stay for him.

"But he's such a good man that he'd never ask me to do somet pain is Ithing I couldn't do. He knows the s too much now and we both know ave a few more days and will be ed home. I wanted to die in the hosand that's what I intend to do.

It mean Tim doesn't have to live in ome we'd made together in Dundafter I died in it, and both of us e safe and cared for as it happens. ave my funeral service sorted, my of service is ready and my ashes e scattered on my mum and grander's grave and Tim's mum's grave ur favourite beach at Portrush. eel safe and saved, I feel peaceful repared and I have faith God will fter everything.

"I fe and pr look af "I ha people time to life an then I' "But ave already said goodbye to many e and I hope to go home for a last o sit by the fire with the love of my nd our dogs, Alfie and Annie, and 'll be ready.

I am anxious to leave this message for anyone who cares to read it. I've learned a lot of stuff in the last 15 months and I want to share it.

"I want people to know that a terminal diagnosis of cancer is of course a shock. It's terrible.

"But there is a way to take control and the Northern Ireland Hospice is here to help anyone do that.

"With Tim, the community nurses and the hospice on my side, I feel I have lived some of the best moments of my life with terminal cancer.

"I have discovered the love I have for my partner is deeper than I could ever have imagined and I have never felt more secure, loved and cherished.

"I have managed to make it through this hellishness without compromise on any level."

"Tim has facilitated all of it from our cruise to our time in the caravan at Portrush which was probably more precious than anything. We have spent time at home chatting, time with our little dogs, with our special friends and family. We have just lived and we have appreciated it all.

And now I have been cared for in the hospice. I can come and go as I please and I have been happy and Tim has been able to help with my care.

"And I have not compromised on my love for Tim because I've seen how he is cared for by the hospice team.

"I have sat in his arms and I have wept in pain, wept about leaving him with tears coming down my face and he has held me tight and let me know that we will be OK and that he will be OK and he will be because of the hospice and the fact that their care for me extends to him now and into the future. Today we're not worried about what people think, we don't care about silly TV shows, smart parties or all the fashionable stuff that we once were involved in.

"We have discovered the secret of life is just to love and be loved. It's very simple.

"So my message is simple. Here's what I have learned: "We have everything we need but we just need to recognise it.

"A hospice, a place people can be scared about, can become another cherished home, another happy family. True love exists.

"Coincidences don't happen - life happens because God works that way.

"A best friend and partner will prove again and again that true love exists even in the toughest of times.

"Good friends will show their colours and stay the course.

"Caring professionals actually do care. "Dogs don't care if drugs make you fat. "Faith in God is a comfort at any time. "Having one regret surely makes us all human.

"And life, all life, is about living to the very end with intention and without compromise - and then going through the door and beyond."

|If you would like to donate to the Northern Ireland Hospice visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/adrianmcaleese1.

jilly.beattie@trinitymirror.com

CAPTION(S):

HOSPICE SUPPORT Adrian McAleese with his partner Tim Gough

MEMORIES Tim and Adrian

WELL WISHES Adrian's room at hospice

DEVOTED Couple were together 18 years
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 12, 2018
Words:1168
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