Very Difficult Conversations
I have often thought about what the best way for someone you love to die is. Instantly or for you to have time to say what you need to say. Of course no way is best however after experiencing both with my father passing away suddenly for me I selfishly feel having that time has helped me.
If someone is taken instantly then I guess this is easier for the person but for the people left behind there are unanswered question and less closure.
Helen and I had time to tell each other how we felt, what we meant to each other and in some ways to say good bye. The price of that though was I had to watch the life being sucked out of her and she also had to prepare herself for that journey leaving her loved ones behind.
Again selfishly I was able to appreciate more of Helen and what we did together because I knew certain things would be the last time it would happen so I took that time to take it all in and put my all into it
It was about this time last year that Helen and I started to have some of the most painfully difficult conversations. Helen would ask me the question that I never wanted her too.. “Am I dying Mike?” or she would simply say to me “I am dying Mike”
Throughout the twists and turns of Helen’s illness I would always find something positive to say to her. Even when I was told the cancer had spread I was able to relay that to Helen and follow it up with all the many options we had available to her just to add that positive slant. That diagnoses didn’t mean the end, it just meant it was the start of a very difficult journey but there was stuff that could be done.
But during these difficult questions I knew I had nothing more to give her. I knew what was happening, she knew what was happening and this was I believe a way of her coming to terms with the inevitable. I also knew that all I had to do until the end was to just be there for her and with her. Hold her hands when she was scared and hold her tight when she was desperate.
We had many long very deep conversations late into the night about our situation. We talking about life after death and what we thought may happen; Helen also joked that she would come back and scare me if she could. But I never like focusing on negative things so instead of talking about what was going to happen I would turn our conversation towards what we had achieved together and what Helen had achieved in her life. Somehow I feel like this helped her through because the tears would stop and the smile would return. She had achieved many amazing things in her life and touched so many people along the way.
Some of the conversation led to what happens to me afterwards…. Helen asked a few times what I was going to do. Of course I had no idea apart from protect the kids as much as possible and help them through. Although I knew what was going to happen there was nothing that could’ve prepared me for it. I clearly remember the one short conversation we had about me moving on afterwards. Of course not something Helen or I wanted to talk too much about nor could really comprehend at that time but we both knew at some point afterwards I would. All Helen wanted was for me and the kids to be happy.
I also look back and think about what we were doing this time last year. Helen and I bought memory boxes for me and the kids. What I find astounding is that she helped chose them knowing full well why we were getting them.
I wouldn’t wish those conversations on anyone but they have really helped me deal with my grief. I was able to tell Helen all I need to tell her and she knew she couldn’t have been loved any more by anyone else. For me that gives me peace of mind.
Also I was given strict instructions. Simply to make sure me and the kids are happy. So that’s what I am doing.