“Love you my love for ever,” Phillip Condon wrote to his wife on Sunday morning.
It was the last text he’d send her.
Three days later, the 61-year-old died in his hospital room at Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital. They’d been married for less than two weeks.
Diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in July, Phillip spent the past few months in and out of the hospital and married his sweetheart, Ramona, on Dec. 5 right down the hall from his room. The Virginian-Pilot wrote about how hospital staff cheered.
“We had thought about bringing him home, and we had thought about hospice, but in the end, I think it was best rather than move him when he wasn’t feeling good,” said his wife, who lives in Virginia Beach.
Ramona said she was with him the night before, and went home Wednesday morning to let her dog out and get cleaned up. She was on her way back to the hospital when she got the call that he was gone.
“I was at the 7-Eleven and the phone rang,” Condon said. “I just missed it. It really, really made me feel bad. It makes me cry.”
A nurse told her Phillip probably wanted it that way.
“He had that planned,” she remembered the nurse telling her. “He didn’t want you to have to go through that.”
The pair were married for 13 days, but they’ve known each other for years. Phillip spent 21 years as a cook in the Navy, and retired in 1997 to become a truck driver.
“I was raising my kids, and we just kind of went our separate ways for a while,” Ramona said. “We probably should’ve been together way back then.”
Still, she finds some comfort in Alfred Lord Tennyson’s quote: “’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
Ramona said she’s been crying, but she’s OK.
“He was such a good guy. He really was. He was very, very giving, very thoughtful. Very caring. He’s just a big kid.”
The pair planned to retire, get a recreational vehicle and travel together. Phillip was determined to do it, even after his diagnosis.
“We were hoping to do what he could,” she said. “Maybe camp around here, and if he felt better, go further.”
She’s planning to have a memorial service after the holidays, and she’d like the hospital’s chaplain, Roger Gauthier, to officiate. He’s the one who married them.
She’s glad she still has that last text.
“It made me cry, but I love it.”
Publication: The Virginian-Pilot / December 20, 2019
Photo Credit: Pexels