ALMOST two years after former prime minister Patrick Manning died, his widow Hazel Manning said her feeling of loss has grown.
Her husband died on July 2, 2016 of acute myeloid leukaemia. He had suffered a stroke in 2012.
“The feeling now is worse than when he first passed. Before, you would think he had gone on a trip and he’ll be back soon. It is rougher, I think, two years down the road than one year ago.
“That was who I used to lean on. I know when Mum died I had nobody to talk to or to lean on, so that is what it is like now.
“If something was problematic, you would say what you have to say and he would say, ‘Well, okay, no, yes,’ or ‘I agree with you.’ There is nobody you can lean on or trust that, when you are done venting to say, ‘That’s good,’ ‘That’s not good.’
“There is nobody to do that with,” Manning said yesterday at the 5th annual Medical Conference and Community Outreach programme at the Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain. She said the conference, organised by Dr Gerard Antoine, founder and medical director of Caribbean Medical Providers Practising Abroad (CMPPA), brought back many memories because she and her husband attended the first conference together five years ago.
The CMPPA brought doctors, many of them from TT and other Caribbean countries, to be apprised as to what was happening and how they could come back and affect what was happening in TT and the Caribbean to raise the standard of health care. Antoine said providing health care should be a team effort and not one singular element.
Hazel Manning said her husband had earlier chosen to seek medical care in Cuba (for heart ailments) rather than in Trinidad because he felt more comfortable there.
“If you go to a health system abroad and you see what is going on and you see what is going on here, you would know that we need to boost up.
“A good example is Cuba. There are people coming from all over the world to Cuba. Medical tourism is what Cuba sells. When you are in a hospital bed in Cuba, there is a team that comes to see you. Doctors would walk in as a team, not a one-man show. When something is wrong with you, you get the diagnosis on everything,” she said.
Manning said nobody could replace her husband.
She said he had begun putting things in place because he knew he did not have long to live.
“He knew that he was going, and he actually planned for it. The house was put in order, the car was sold because it was too expensive to maintain. “I didn’t think that at the time, but in hindsight he was putting things in place.”
Manning said she was able to cope with her loss by keeping herself busy with a workshop, which was geared to helping people deal with their own losses.
“Being so involved in my work has helped considerably, because I’m out there meeting people.
“My two sons, we talk all the time, but it is still difficult.
“I also take care of myself. I exercise, go to the gym, watch what I eat, because we are getting older,” she said.