I lost my wife.
I lost my wife to cancer in October. She was only 34 years old. We were together 15 years and married 7 of those. My pain is still so near. I thought I was making some progress in recent weeks but the Christmas period has been difficult. I am hoping the days ahead will see a return to some sort of normality in terms of how I am expected to behave. I enjoy being with my family and friends but I’ve felt the need to hide my grief so as not to put a downer on their festivities.
Right now I am crying often. Anything sets me off. Making tea for one, seeing her things around the house, looking at pictures of her, thinking of her pain and fear, her final moments, her final breath, the funeral, happy times we had, decisions we made together, sledging, cycling, shopping, the movie Up (you know the scene), basically every waking moment I am either thinking of her or distracting myself by endlessly watching TV box-sets. Even these make me think of her, especially the good episodes that I know she would have loved.
I am still getting horrific flashbacks to certain events during her illness. When she first discovered the lump. When we were told it was cancer. When it returned 18 months after her treatment. When she was given 4 weeks to live last Christmas. When she had a seizure at home. When we found out it had spread to her brain. The fear and confusion in her eyes. When she died in my arms. When she said ‘I love you’ with her final breath. When these flashbacks start I can’t shake them off. They grip me like an icy hand around my wrist. When they subside I am numb with pain and fear.
Here are some nuggets of advice I’ve had. “Life goes on”, “You will miss her every day, so you just have to get on with things”, “I can’t imagine what you are going through but I am sure she would want you to get on with your life” (so you can’t imagine my feelings but you can imagine what someone you only met a handful of times, would feel about me), “perhaps you need counseling” (this from a medical professional barely 2 weeks after her funeral), “she was a fighter, in fact I remember one argument we had…..”, - like I needed to hear you still held a grudge.
I hate the fact that I can’t sleep and that I can’t take any pleasure from anything in life. After 2 months I am not sure which stage of grief I am at. All I know is that I am profoundly sad and lonely. I don’t think I have accepted her passing. I’ve accepted that she is dead but not that she is gone. Twice she has come to me in dreams. Here I was able to touch her and see her smile. The cancer that had attacked her body was gone and she looked radiant and beautiful. I wish I could dream of her every night but I know my body is looking out for me here. In time I am sure my dreams of her will be longer and more joyous and not heartbreaking when I have to let her go each time.
I know soon I will have to return to work and routine. I hope people will not judge me or try to tell me when they think I should return. Questions like, “are you not back at work yet?” are really starting to annoy me. My grief is an ever changing sea. One minute it is calm and serene the next it is pounding on my shores or tossing me up and down mountainous waves. Gently bobbing along with an occasional swell is what I am hoping for in the years ahead.
I loved her more each and every day. The girl that I met became an amazing woman. In the process she made me the man I am. x