Toowoomba’s Lois Dixon kept the marital promise she made in 1967 to love her sweetheart in sickness and in health, until death do them part.
Edward, who was better known as ‘Sandy’, passed away peacefully at home, a few weeks before his 81st birthday, with his true love by his bedside – the way he wanted to go.
Spending more than half a century together, Lois and Sandy’s relationship experienced highs and lows. Lois said both were important for a marriage to survive.
“We had our disagreements. We had our ups and downs raising kids and owning a butcher shop. My husband was a master butcher.”
Despite having never smoked, Sandy was sadly diagnosed with throat cancer in 2019. Lois devoted herself to caring for him as his health deteriorated.
“Towards the end, Sandy could only eat Weet-bix and Scotch Finger Biscuits. We would sit there in the morning with our tea and biscuits and play at least two games of cards or Trouble,” she said.
Sandy left behind three adult children, 6 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren and one great-great granddaughter.
Lois said the family knew that her husband did not have long, but they were not expecting to lose him so soon. His sudden passing came as a shock.
Accompanying with him for his final journey was his hair comb, a deck of playing cards (he loved playing Solitaire), a packet of peppermints and an "Old Bastards Club" membership card, which was always in his wallet.
Rather than a sad funeral, Sandy will be farewelled with a celebration of life at the Bribie Island Bowls Club. “Bribie is where we met and fell in love in the ‘60s. Sandy was the local butcher,” Lois said.
Life after death
After 54 years of marriage, Lois is adjusting to her new life without her sweetheart, day by day. Some days are better than others. The great-great-grandmother worries for the grandkids and how they will cope now that their grandfather has passed.
It’s also the little things that she’ll miss. She has lost her personal barista, as Sandy was the only one who knew how to make her coffee just right.
Even their little chihuahua Chai is grieving the loss of her best mate. She had spent the past 15 years following Sandy everywhere. So naturally, she has been walking around the house crying, looking for him. Now she’s allowed to sleep on the floor of Lois’ bedroom rather than outside.
Lois admits she neglected her health while caring for Sandy, so she has started going on walks and eating healthier. She plans to focus on herself more and keep busy as best as she can with lunch dates with family and friends. She’s even adopted a Jack Russel hoping the energetic pooch will motivate her to go for walks.
Lois’ grief journey is an inspiration
Bare arranger Lisa said she couldn’t get the “beautiful lady” out of her mind after speaking with her on the phone.
“I stayed on the phone with her for two hours while she shared her story with me,” she said.
“I didn't want to hang up until I knew she felt ready. I felt like her telling me her story was actually helping her. I think she just needed to talk to someone.”
Lisa was so moved by hearing Lois talk about Sandy and her devotion to her husband until his final moments. She hoped sharing their story will inspire other families trying to cope after the passing of their special person.
“Her beautiful story could help so many other people going through the steps she is currently taking,” Lisa said.
Grief and bereavement support
No matter your situation, you’re never alone as you navigate your grief journey. If you’re seeking grief or bereavement support, we’ve compiled a list of services across Australia here. If you are seeking grief support, speak to your health professional or reach out to the Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement on 1800 642 066.
Or for more immediate help, call Lifeline on 13 11 14, or BeyondBlue on 1300 224 636.
At Bare, we would be honoured to support you in planning a befitting memorial ceremony for your loved one – whether that’s entirely family-led, or with our dedicated celebrant team. Visit our website bare.com.au or call 1800 202 901.