A heartbroken husband has told how the love of his life died moments after he gave her a final kiss goodbye.
Teacher Elly West tragically lost her struggle to survive just nine months after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND).
The beloved wife of Rory and loving mum to Poppy, nine, Elly was just 35 when she passed away on Sept 5.
Speaking just days after her death, grieving Rory, 38, bravely described how he watched his “best friend” slip away from him.
“I’d promised her I’d give her a final kiss on the lips when the time came.”
“And that’s what I did. She smiled and that smile said thank you for keeping your promise and thank you because now I’m free from the pain and suffering.”
Rory added: “I have been robbed of my best friend, the love of my life and the rest of my life. We were supposed to grow old together.
“Elly was my life and she made me the person I am today.
“My only regret is that we didn’t meet each other sooner because then we could have had longer together.”
Elly, who was diagnosed with MND at Christmas, had spoken shortly after receiving the terrible news. She told of her terror of developing “locked-in syndrome” and being unable to speak to her family.
She said: “I’m really scared I won’t be able to communicate with Rory and Poppy, to tell them how much I love them and how sorry I am for all this.
“I want Poppy to know how much I love her and now, I never wait to say it in case I wake up one day and can’t tell her anymore.”
While the couple, of Hull, East Yorks., tried to create happy memories for Poppy, with trips to Ireland, London and to Center Parcs, Elly’s condition deteriorated until she was unable to even move her head.
In the weeks leading up to her her death, the Thomas Ferens Academy teacher started losing the power of speech. She then developed a severe chest infection and was taken into a hospice last week.
Knowing she was dying, Elly used what was left of her voice to help her husband prepare lists of her final wishes.
Rory, who cared for his wife throughout her illness, said: “That was just Elly being Elly. She bossed me right to the end.
“She was the most organised person I knew and she left me lists of what I had to do, from ensuring her coffin was pink with silver handles to the songs she wanted played.
“She’d be pleased with me because I’ve nearly done everything on the lists.”
With her family and closest friends by her side Elly died at lunchtime on Saturday.
After losing his wife, Rory then faced the ordeal of breaking the news to daughter Poppy, who had chosen to wait in the room next door at the hospice.
“I told Poppy Mummy had gone to sleep now and she went into the garden and picked some lavender for her mummy to hold in her hands,” he said.
The widower said he and his wife longed for a cure for MND to spare other families the ordeal of watching a loved one die.
“MND is such a cruel disease. I don’t mean to be disrespectful to anyone with cancer, but at least with cancer, you have a glimmer of hope.
“With MND, there is no hope and I pray that one day there is a cure found for this so no other family has to go through this.
“I always wanted someone to knock on the door one day and say they’d found something that would help Elly stay with us for a few more years. But it just didn’t happen.”
The family and those who loved Elly are preparing for a celebration of her life at St Charles Borromeo Church in Hull, on Friday, September 18.
It is the church the couple were married in.