When i started doing this it was with the intention of cataloging my wife’s journey and subsequent recovery through her cancer and treatment from my point of view – the carer. As it turns out the universe had a different take on how that would play out.
Jennifer passed away at the end of May 2016 and now 6 months on from that I’m sitting down to try and write some things that might make some sense of what my young little family is going through. I’ve tried to write here quite a few times and the drafts folder is full of attempts that have ended in tears, pain, or black depression. Sometimes all three. Even this umpteenth time has me writing with a physical hard lump in my chest.
From previous posts you might know that my partner of almost 10 years was diagnosed with bowel cancer at the beginning of 2014 and then thanks to my private medical cover she had various chemotherapy treatments with varying results – mostly it turned out not conclusively great results – until one day at the end of January 2016 we were told by our Oncologist that there was nothing else they could do to try and treat this disease that had now spread to other parts of her body and they were stopping the treatment.
Jennifer and I knew that this was her Death Sentence. We had the kind of relationship where we talked about it, this wasn’t a taboo subject for us. We talked practically, we talked lovingly, we talked wistfully. Sometimes we joked about things – she said she would come back and haunt me if the kids ended up wearing odd socks, I told her after she passed I was going to have her stuffed and put on the end of the sofa with her laptop. Sometimes we just sat in silence and looked at each other not wanting to believe what was going to happen. Sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel actually is a train coming the other way. We wanted to be prepared as much as it was possible for the children’s sake and in turn prepare the children as much as possible for what would be a gigantic loss in our lives.
I’ve been through some pretty horrible times and have had to face some pretty horrible things in my life: but discussing death and having to tell the kids that Mummy was going to die was just the awfullest thing I’ve ever had to do. They’re were only 4 and 6 years old at the time – they should be playing with dolls and cars, splashing about in the bath without a care, not being told their life was about to shatter.
As the year progressed Jennifer became more and more ill, less and less mobile and spent a few stints in the Marie Curie to see if they could relieve some of the symptoms of her constant suffering. In 5 months I saw her go from looking remarkably robust for someone with terminal cancer to a shell of herself. Weak, immobile and recluse. It was an awful and stressful time. On the 18th May she was admitted to the Marie Curie for what turned out to be her last time and then passed away on the 22nd with myself, and her mother, father and brother around her.
Directly after this in those last days of May and early June, life was almost surreal. I really just wanted to just sit and stare at a wall ( I still do ) it was a gargantuan effort to actually talk to anyone ( it sort of still is although maybe now downgraded to ‘huge’ ) but there is no space or time for that as I now have two children that are my responsibility to look after and bring up right and make sure they got out of this time with their sanity intact – mostly I suspect at the expense of my own.
.end of part 1.