(Natal, South Africa)
I lost my beloved husband Brian, three months ago. He had been in a wheelchair for 6 years due to unexplained, spreading paralysis of his lower limbs. He then developed type 1 diabetes and was in renal failure several times, the worst being last June, 2010 when the poisons excreted by his kidneys passed through his brain, causing severe confusion, which never improved. I nursed him at home, 24/7 until his death on 5th March this year. His health deteriorated steadily in spite of my constant care, and he developed terrible bed sores on his back and hips which got worse and worse daily. He never complained and, even at his most confused, always had a smile and a loving word for me - he forgot who I was for two terrible months but then remembered- that was the happiest day of my entire life!!!!!
He bore his pain and daily indignities with courage, love and fortitude- how can I get through this and accept that he has gone? We were together for 42 years and he is part of my DNA. Every corner of our home reminds me of him. I feel disconnected from the world without his comforting presence and loving arms. In his eyes I was perfect and beautiful and now I make terrible mistakes daily and, when I look in the mirror,I see an aging, lined, grieving and mourning wife who doesn't know whether waking up tomorrow morning is worth the pain.Those of my friends who have lost their husbands tell me this will pass and that I will learn to be happy again, but that I must accept that I will never be the same person I was before I lost my Brian. I must re-invent myself and realise that this strange life I am existing in now, is actually real life from now on and that it is up to me to make it liveable - and bearable - and, maybe, possibly, even happy again some day in the future. To all who have lost their life partners, with all my heart I wish you recovery and future happiness.