One Month Today

by Steven
(Perth, Western Australia)

My beautiful wife Monica passed away, one month ago today.
On the 15th of June 2012 at 12:33pm
I was holding her hand, together with her daughter and mother as she took her last breath.

The hardest part for me to accept, was the speed with which it all happened. She was diagnosed with Bronchial and Liver Cancer only 10 days earlier. We had to take her to hospital on the Monday with breathing difficulties. On Thursday we were told there was no hope and she was placed on a morphine drip. On the Friday she died in our hands.

The only indicator we had of what was to come, was two weeks beforehand. She had been feeling unwell and went to see her doctor. He ordered the blood tests which started the chain of events. She wasn't feeling well enough to go to work the week before the diagnosis. Beyond that, there were no warnings. She had only just celebrated her 52nd birthday.

I don't envy the people that endure a long and protracted battle with cancer. I can't even begin to imagine the hell they must have to live through. But to loose someone you love so very much, to cancer, in only 10 days is heart wrenching. When Monica was first told the news, she was so incredibly strong. We discussed going to the local cemetery and selecting a plot together. There were many other things we wanted to plan in the limited time we knew we would have. Even her very first specialist appointment, to discuss treatment options, wasn't due until the week following her death. Instead we had an agonising 10 days of deteriorating health and not knowing what was happening.

I know the question of WHY will never be answered.
It hasn't even been asked.
I know Monica didn't choose to leave us this way.
And I don't lay any blame on her.
I know she loved me.
I know she knew how much I loved her.
I have no sense of guilt.
I just have an immeasurable sense of sadness and loss.
It's not there all the time.
I try and get on with my work and my life.
And then, smack!
It hits you in the face, harder than a speeding train.
You realise that it's not just your beautiful wife you've lost.
It's your whole life.
Your entire reason for living.

I'm fortunate to have a close family and wonderful friends.
They've told me things will be easier after the funeral. That there will be a sense of acceptance and closure. The truth is they're wrong.

Yes, it was the worst time of my life.
They were the hardest things I've ever had to endure;
- watching her take her last dying breath
- identifying her body for the funeral home
- delivering a eulogy at her funeral
- watching her coffin be lowered away
These were agonisingly painful moments, filled with tears and heartache. And yes, in truth, the pain of these moments has eased. The memories of them are no longer as devastating as they were at the time. So when my family and friends ask me how I'm going. I put on a brave smile and say "not too bad" or "okay".

But the truth is, I'm not.

The hardest part is missing all those intimate moments together. Not the bedroom, but in our LIFE. Like today, just after pay day. We would always go out shopping together and buy something special. Just a carefree moment before the reality of a mortgage and all the bills slap us around a bit more. We would have lunch or diner together in a cafe or restaurant. Nothing too special or fancy.
Just the two of us, in our own little world.
Enjoying life.
Enjoying each other.

Or having someone to talk to.
Even to occasionally hurl abuse at.
Or simply to say "I love you".
Someone you can open your heart to and know you'll be safe.

It's said that to experience true happiness, it needs to be shared.
I found true love and true happiness.
And now it is gone.

This may sound terribly selfish, but ...
I no longer grieve for the loss of my darling wife.
I know she is gone and is not coming back.

I grieve for myself.
For the love in my heart, that is no longer shared.
For the happiness I can no longer find.
For the laughter and fun that is no longer here.
For the hug that I know will never come.
Or the tears that won't wipe away.
That ALONE, I cannot love myself.

Every day I wake up and turn off my heart and emotions.
And try and get on with the task of living.
But in truth, I know all I have is an existence.
Not a life.

I wrote a poem a few weeks ago that I posted here.
My Waking Demise.
I really don't know where the inspiration for it came from.
I've never had a poetic bone in my body.
But as I read it again, the reality of it continues to haunt me.
My life is my waking demise.
A living death, punctuated with the mundane moments of existence.
Like going to work, paying the bills, eating, sleeping, crying...............


Comments for One Month Today

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Jul 18, 2012
So sorry for your loss....
by: Anonymous

My husband was hit by a car on July 3,2012 He was out walking our German Sheperd Dog My husband and dog were struck by a car, The man driving the car had a heart attack. My husband lived for 8 days following the accident. He passed away Wednesday July 11,2012. At the young age of 41. We have been married for 15 years. This is the hardest thing i have ever had to go through He was my husband my companion and my best friend. They say it gets easier but i find that hard to believe. My life will never be the same without that wonderful man in my life.. I miss him so much.

Jul 17, 2012
Your words sound very familiar.
by: Mac

Steven,

Your words sound very familiar.

My wife Cindy passed away on 15th of June 2012 as well. Things were going great in our lives. My son had just graduated from High School in May. My wife was fine... Then, unexpectedly into the hospital she went. Then a week later, she was gone. We were married for 27+ years and had been friends for 37 years. She was only 55.

Jul 14, 2012
One month Today
by: Doreen U.K.

Steven I am sorry for your loss of your beloved wife to cancer. I lost my husband to Cancer 9 weeks ago after 44yrs. of marriage. Steve's cancer was a slow death 3yrs.39days of suffering pain and losing so much weight. It was painfull each day watching him die. He wanted to live. I saw the sadness and the pain.
I echo everything you say in your post. It is the simple things in life. The sharing moments of even a shopping trip to the supermarket. going for lunch. little chats. All Gone. Lost. We feel as if we have been cheated out of life. By a cruel disease that destroys the body and the lives of those who have to live on alone. You do feel as if you have been knocked down by a bus and you can't get up. Steven you have to give yourself time and space to grieve your loss otherwise you just postpone this for later and the pain is worse. Grief just happens. You don't force it. You don't Plan it. It is just there. Part of the loss. You cannnot move on till you are ready despite what people say to you or think how you should be feeling. You could try seeing a grief counsellor to help you in your sorrow. I am glad you have good supportive family and friends as this does make a great difference. But just don't let people put you in a slot where they think you ought to be. You define the pace at which you are able to move forward. It is a very Lonely place to be. The loss of companionship. The loss of someone just sitting and watching a favourite TV programme. I am at a loss at how to move forward. I am only EXISTING. For me family and friends move on with their lives. I also like yourself when asked how I am. Cannot answer.
I can't say fine thank you. Because I am not fine. I am in sorrow all the time. I am crying a lot. I don't want to do anything. I don't know where I want to be. Life is HELL just now.
How could the loss of our spouse hurt so much that it is hard to go on without them. The emptiness is too much to bear. I will eventually go back to church and get back into what I loved doing. which is serving others. I have one daughter to take care of and cook for otherwise I would love to go overseas and help in war torn areas and make a difference. Or do voluntary work. I did this for 8 years and it was very fulfilling. For now I just EXIST ANOTHER DAY.
Steven I hope the days ahead will get better for you with the love and support of family and friends. I hope that you will be happy again in time and you will find companionship.

Jul 14, 2012
I know how you feel
by: James

You and I are going through the very same reactions of grief, sorrow, sadness, emptyness.
My darling Jennifer died just 14 days after dianosis, she was in bed, at home, in my arms.
You wrote you entry with so much love and feeling. It could have been me.
I can truly say I know how you feel and I hope it will get better for both of us.....when????
My heartfelt good wishes to you
James

Jul 14, 2012
Same Here
by: Anonymous

Hi,
I lost my wife, my friend and soulmate three and a half months ago. It gets less devastating as time goes on but life is empty and meaningless. I work but only because it takes my mind off of her. Loneliness and emptiness is what life is for me now. I hear it will get better so I mark my time. I am afraid of nothing except not being with her again. We have to process this loss even if it takes years. Others still need us so like a long ocean voyage we must endure. God Bless.

Jul 14, 2012
With understanding
by: Jillian

Dear Steven,
I have just posted how I have broken down crying in the supermarket after hearing my mum's favourite song. So I truly understand how that awful sadness resurfaces often.

People ask me too how I am coping. Yes it is hard to convey what it is like living with such sadness. When you have a special bond and commitment to your loved one it is impossible to fill the void.(As your poem points out)

I hope in time it will bring comfort to you that such a special person as Monica chose to spend her life with you.

As you so wisely say it is not of our loved ones choosing that they are snatched away from us so suddenly. I have a brother who is disabled and the speed of losing his lovely mum made his condition deriorate recently. I have got into a routine again as I know without me he is lost.

I do hope you can sustain some kind of routine Steven. As one who broke down crying in the supermarket today, (last week the bank as I heard someone shout MUM!) I would say grief knows no boundaries so we should not apologise for our upsets.
My best wishes to you, Jillian.

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