One year on since my wife passed away
The following few days will mark a year on since Helen left our home for the last time and went to hospital. As Helen was taken out of the house and into an ambulance that morning I distinctly remember thinking that this could be the last time she will leave this house. Sadly it was…. I clearly remember all the events from the morning of Wed 27th Feb 2013 through to the early hours of 1st March when Helen passed away. It was a very long and agonising time full of very difficult decisions and events.
The days and weeks that followed are a blur…..
It seems crazy that a year has passed. So much has happened and changed but at the same time it all feels like yesterday. What scares me the most though is how far away Helen feels now. It almost feels like a life time ago or a totally different life altogether and to say that about someone who is so special and close in my life really does scare me. I sometimes wonder if I am normal to be feeling like this but then I quickly remind myself that there is no ‘Normal’ when it comes to grief. It’s just the way I am.
My life is just so different now and am so busy with single parenthood, work, life that I have to say that’s some days it feels like I don’t think about Helen. I am sure I do in fleeting moments but not as I would have expected. This doesn’t mean I don’t miss Helen or still love her because I do. It’s not like our love stopped and we divorced; we were parted without our consent and our love was never in question. For me my love has stayed constant and I believe it always will be; I have just learnt how to move forward.
When I do make the time to think about it all I feel the same smack in the stomach that I had when it first happened. More of a realisation of the truth and the fact that life is definitely moving on. Accepting that I can never get my head around this situation is one of the key decisions I have made because it took away all the questions I may have had about why and how it all happened. It’s sad and tragic but it was also no one’s decision and in many respects it was out of our hands.
So the coming days will of course be a sad time. Not because a year has passed because for me there is no difference in it being 365 days since or 366 days… my feelings don’t really change. It will be sad more so because my mind will be forced to think about the tragic and sometimes horrific events of this time a year ago. The visions and memories I have will stay with me forever.
I am sure though that the anniversary of Helen’s death will probably mean much more to others rather than me. I have been living through the grief and loss each and every day where as other people move on with their lives and it’s these marked events that people tend to focus on.
Another widower I know once described something called “The Waiting Room phase”. A space between two worlds, the world someone leaves behind after their loss and the world they have yet to arrive. I totally got this because for a long while I was in that space. A very lonely place where I was mourning my wife and the life I once had while at the same time in a state on being nowhere. I’m not in that place any more and that in itself is a good feeling. I don’t feel like the same man I was a year or 2 ago either; I feel like I have found myself again. I have a new life, new friends, new things I want to do, new places I want to see.
I have also come to the conclusion that my life will be great in so many ways because I have seen how easily life can be taken away. I have seen and experienced death first hand, I couldn’t have been more close to it without it actually being me. So I try not to worry about little things, I try to be happy with what I have and strive to continue to live a happy life.
One of the biggest feelings of freedom I have felt since Helen’s passing is the fact that I was free of Cancer. It no longer ruled my life and that ‘Cancer Cloud’ above our heads drifted away at the very same time as Helen passed on. I have in some ways felt guilty about feeling so free because it was at the cost of losing my wife but Helen would not want the hardship we faced to continue unnecessarily. Like I have said so many times before; Helen fought so hard to stay alive and to live a happy life so I try hard continue with that ethos for her and make it happen.
I still maintain that I was lucky to have had the time with Helen and the kids were lucky to have Helen as their Mum. Such an amazing woman who never deserved the short life she had. Such a sad, terrible and tragic story of someone so young and innocent losing their life without any real reason for it or understanding.
I have no regrets at all from the time I had with Helen and through her illness. I am at ease with knowing that I did all I could for her and I feel happy about how me and the kids have coped on our own through the year. The kids just as happy as they always were and growing up to be 2 amazing people. Helen would be so proud of them.. Maybe she can look down and smile at the little people they have become.
A year on…… I feel OK about it being a year since Helen passed away but I am sure it will hit me hard at some point.. Probably when I least expect it but at the same time I will raise my glass in thanks to Helen for letting me be part of her life and giving me two very precious children. For that I will be forever grateful.