The life of a young widowed father with the will to help others with advice and positivity.

Category: Illness

Very Difficult Conversations

 

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.

Mike - Copy

 

6 Months Has Passed

 

6 Months has passed since Helen left us and I honestly do not know where that time has gone although it both feels like yesterday and also a lifetime ago.

I remember my early emotions and thoughts after Helen passed were of me reliving the last few days of her life. It was horrible but in some ways comforting. Maybe this is the start of the grief process to help imprint the events in your memory however painful they may be. I still do this now but it’s more on my terms rather than it being forced on me. I am also able to focus on the times during those last few days when Helen was making us laugh.. Yes you read that right….. Helen was dying with only hours to live and she was still making us laugh. Amazing woman and I know she always had a hope for another tomorrow which kept her going.

WowHelenMikeWedding

 

As the 6 months have passed I can tell that my memories seem to be finding their places in my brain; I guess filling themselves away as life moves on. Certain memories though I can still see as clear as day. That initial diagnosis when the doctor said that C word, the time when Helen and I met with the head paediatrician and were basically told the pregnancy would not work with the treatment. Also the time when the midwife came to check the babies heart beat after Helen’s surgery (my heart stopped as I waited for her response) and the phone call I took from the professor from London to tell me the worst news I have ever heard. And then obviously the hardship of a brand new baby, a toddler and a wife on chemo and certainly the hardship of the last 10 months.

So I suppose when I think about it most of the difficult times will be imprinted at the forefront of my memories forever but in between all those bad times ( and I have said this many time before ) are hundreds of fantastic memories of Helen, me and the kids just having fun. Smiling and laughing. These happy memories outweigh the bad ones a million to 1.

Mike and Helen

 

What I have noticed though are how my thoughts, emotions and mindsets change as time passes. Initially all I could think about was Helen when she was ill. It wasn’t in a bad way but that was just the vision of her that was in my head and the one I missed the most. Now as time moves on I have started to reminisce about the times just Helen and I shared before we had children. I really miss that too and I just miss that woman…

The times where my feelings are always most prominent is when I am shutting up the house to go to bed; I just feel so stunned as to how my life has unfolded. There I am standing in the house with the two kids asleep upstairs and I am all alone. My wife is gone and the house is so quiet… I am no longer married… How did that happen? How did that happen to such a vibrant, happy, innocent woman… also I guess I think why me and why Helen?

I wonder where she has gone and how far away she is.. She always told me that when she died she would never be far away and will look after us all. I wonder if that is the case as I really struggle to feel close to her. It scares me to think how far away Helen feels now and I worry that she will only get further away. It also scares me how those 7 years with Helen feel like a different life. I know it isn’t but my life is now so different and I feel like a different man. The most important thing though is that I still can’t get my head around it and I don’t think I will ever get over it… I will just learn to live with it.

So 6 months have passed and how am I doing? Good question although I guess most of you know if you read these blog posts. It has however been a very lonely and hard process that I am still in the middle of. I say lonely because it has been lonely in terms of being alone but also in the sense that I personally don’t think anyone can help a grieving person.. only simply be there for them to help guide them in the right direction. Every single person has their own grieving process to follow and no one can change that process. It’s just a process you have to go through on your own and for me that is lonely.

Of course I still miss Helen and when I think about her dreadful loss and all she will miss out on I feel pure anger and sadness for her. I also feel tremendously for the kids because although I know they understand to their own level what has happened I know they don’t understand exactly what that will mean for them for the rest of their lives. Sometimes it all takes my breath away. The reality I am in is an awful place to be but I can honestly say that I am happy. I actually feel happy and OK about life. This is partly because I have always been very positive and optimistic but also because of that brave woman I was lucky enough to marry and spend 7 fantastic years with. She told me she just wanted happiness for us all and that is my mission for my family.

Me and the kids

 

Dear Hels…

We are doing ok my love.. We miss you so much but we are happy….

Love you Hels Bels x x x

 

 

 

How I lifted our mood at the hospital?

 

How I lifted our mood at the hospital?

Well after the last few less than happy blog posts I thought I would throw in an amusing one that may make you smile.

Helen and I spent a ridiculous amount of time in hospitals through our journey and we ended up being able to walk around the Bath Royal United Hospital without a worry about where we were going. We just knew where we were going as we had walked the corridors countless times before. In fact we could’ve easily taken a job at the front desk helping people find their way.

We also spent a lot of time just waiting in the waiting rooms for treatments, procedures, appointments and result so we had a lot of time to kill. Bearing in mind what we were there for we were sometimes both sat in silence, deep in thought and worried about what could happen, what was going to happen or what the results were going to be.

It was then that I would pull out my special hospital joke that would always lighten up the mood a bit. Even though after a while Helen knew the joke she would always laugh at me.. I don’t think you can ever beat someone just being silly.

So when you are next in a hospital and the mood is not so nice remember this joke that will be sure to lift up your mood.

Doctor, Grief, bereavement, cancer

 

Here goes… are you ready?

 

Who is the coolest guy in the hospital?

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ultrasound guy

And there you have it…. Enjoy!