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

The Story

 

I wish this story was that of fiction but unfortunately its not.

My name is Michael Adams and after a brave heroic battle with breast cancer on 1st march 2013 my wife Helen sadly passed away leaving behind a loving, dedicated husband and two gorgeous children. Not to mention all the countless family and friends that all held Helen so dear in their hearts.

Helen and I met in April 2006 and once we got together there was no stopping us. We moved in together in Oct 2006 and engaged in the Dec. We married in July 2007 and our first baby was born a year later.

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Our perfect Wedding day

 

 

 

 

 

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Helen who was then healthy and a perfectly proud mummy to our daughter Olivia

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then in 2009 just a few days after our daughters 1st birthday and 3 months pregnant with our second child our lives were to change forever when Helen was diagnosed with Breast cancer. Initially there were doubts about the pregnancy but after some proactive work liaising with the right professionals Helen underwent surgery and 4 bouts of Chemo before delivering our beautiful baby boy Marley. Helen then went on to have 4 further much stronger Chemo treatments plus Herceptin and radiotherapy.

IMG_9438 Helen & Marley

 

This is Helen and her new head of hair with Marley when he was about 1.5 years old

 

 

 

 

 

 

18 months went by while we started to rebuild our lives and bring up our two small children. We thought we has seen the last of cancer but we knew there was always that possibility. Then at the end of 2011 the cancer had returned, she had had a small re-occurrence which was dealt with by surgery. Oncologists and surgeons didn’t seem overly concerned by it as a small re-occurrence like this can be common.

In April 2012 Helen again had a biopsy which was found to be cancerous. Deciding to get to the bottom of these occurrences and with the will to get the best treatment possible we made a few trips to London to see one of the UK’s leading breast cancer specialists. After a number of scans the worst was to come in that the cancer had spread to the Lungs, Bones, Brain and Liver. This then sparked off the biggest battle of all.

Helen was treated with numerous types of Chemotherapy treatments in an attempt to shrink the cancer plus countless other treatments to help manage the side effects. Although initially the cancers did shrink and stabilise it became too aggressive and sadly that horrible disease took her away from us. Helen had been a tower of strength throughout everything and was an amazingly positive person even through the most difficult of times.

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This is my favourite picture of Helen with our two beautiful children. Helen had been on some very gruelling chemotherapy for about 8 months when this was taken and still looked gorgeous. She didn’t have much energy to do too much but she always had time to give the kids her smile and a cuddle. That’s all they needed.

 

 

 

I too remained positive and strong for her and our family but no matter how hard I tried I had to watch in agony as the cancer slowly took away my beautifully wife, soul mate and best friend. I am now left as a widower and single parent trying to come to terms with the what happened through the 3.5 years since diagnoses and now life without her.

I will love her forever x

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36 comments on “The Story

  1. Eran says:

    Hi Michael,

    Just thought I would say hello. I’ve no idea how I ended up on your site but many of your posts resonate with me. My story is a little similar, my partner of 15 years died last year (14 April) after 3 years of cancer treatments leaving my daughter (7 yrs old at the time) and myself. Lia always said that our daughter would drag me through the intial phases and she was right. It’s been over a year now and I think I am only starting to understand the loss. Anyhow, I look forward to your future posts and positivity.

    Strength,

    Eran

    • Michael Adams says:

      Hi Eran, I am glad you found the site and hopefully it can help you. Even if it makes you feel like your not alone hey :). All the best

  2. Marjorie Ross says:

    What has happened to you is truly awful and I feel so sorry that this dreadful disease can wreak such havoc, but you have the best attitude, though I know that beneath a cheerful exterior there is a broken heart.
    I was widowed; my husband died from cancer of the bladder 18 months ago – our son, an only child also died from the disease four years ago; we were married for 65 years, so I am lucky to have had such a long time with my husband, but it does not make it any less painful.

    I hope so much that you and your two dear children can and will be able to make new lives for yourselves and be happy again. You will not feel like it now, but you will be able to do this eventually. My best wishes for the future of your little family.

    Marjorie Ross – Bournemouth.

    • Michael Adams says:

      Thank you Marjorie. You’re right. Underneath a part of my heart has broken away and will never heal. Life has to go on somehow… not always easy but my two little gems will I am sure keep me going.

      Take care
      Mike x

  3. Mark Every says:

    Michael, my Mum pointed me in your direction after reading something in a newspaper. I lost my 32 yo wife to cancer just under a month ago, we only found out she had it in February but she fought hard from diagnosis to the end. We have a 2 yo son who is too young to understand at the moment but I know that time will come. Reading your posts has certainly helped, particularly the latest on grief, something which has only started hitting me in the last week since her funeral.

    Regards.

    Mark

    • Michael Adams says:

      Hi Mark,

      Firstly I am so sorry to hear this. Life can be so cruel and I feel for you and your son.

      I am glad though that my site has helped somehow and hopefully it will help you as you move through your own grief process.

      I think some good advice for you now is not to put yourself under any pressure about how you feel. You I am sure will have better days and worse days which you have no control of so just let it happen. It still happens for me now ad I have learnt that grief is always there and will pop up when you least expect it. It does get slowly easier but when it will for you depends on how you are as a person.

      Also check out the links pages on my site. The WAY foundation really helped me early on. They have a great private FB page.

      Wish you all the best and feel free to contact me in the future.

      Mike

  4. Jesmond Micallef says:

    Dear Mr. Adams,

    I got to know about your story in today’s Bristol Post and wish to write a few words to you, if I may.

    Reading the very touching news article in the Bristol Post I simply couldn’t resist seeking your website on the net. Your own writings and willingness to share and communicate with other people are a truely remarkable celebration of life. Your wife’s spirit lives on and will never “die”, you and your children are ample proof of that.

    People never die, Mr. Adams, they just go somewhere, we simply cannot understand, that’s all.

    I wish you and your beautifull children all the love one could ever wish for.

    Jesmond

  5. found you through a link on twitter, I have just read about your beautiful wife & mother of your children Helen, she is beautiful, in heart and in the photos.
    OK I was crying reading it all, but can I just say, she would be so proud of you and all you are doing.
    Sending love & hugs to you and the children and how courageous and strong to share this so others going through similar can feel not quite so alone x

  6. Nigel says:

    Came to your blog via a newspaper item. I lost my wife of 33 years from Metastatic Breast Cancer on 28th August 2012. She was just 53 years old, leaving me and my two daughters now aged 18 and 22. I never thought of writing a blog to help me through the aftermath. Perhaps I should have, but I’m glad you have done so. In an odd way it’s helpful to know that the guilty feeling of being the “lucky one” is not unique to us. Thank you for helping us all with your writing.

    • Michael Adams says:

      HI Nigel, I found that most widows/widowers had the same questions, thoughts and feelings and all dealt with them differently. Hopefully this blog is helping people realise that their feelings are normal. Take care

  7. Sarah says:

    Saw your sad story on the local news – looked up your website . What a story x so sad x
    I was wondering how you sort of manage x my father in law is dying of cancer and is so ill x we know it may be soon . How do we cope. ..me, my husband and my 2 yr old x. With thanks

    • Michael Adams says:

      Hi there,

      I also focus on the good things in someone’s life rather than the bad. Unfortunately we all have to die at some point and most people achieve some good things in that life. It’s always a difficult thing death… hard to fathom. Life does go on and has too.

      All the best
      x

  8. sarah says:

    Sharing your most hearfelt emotions is not an easy task but in doing it your are helping your broken heart mend a tiny piece at a time, although your beautiful children are her legacy that she unwillingly had to leave behind, and everytime you look into their eyes,,your wife and their Mum will always be with you all..you’ve touched me, and may your life and your childrens lives be blessed with health n happiness always,,and in doing this blog you are helping others in a similar or same situation…:-)

  9. sarah says:

    P.s Bless you

  10. Chris says:

    Hi Michael,
    I’ve just found your blog and I feel it will help me. I just lost my wife, she was just 30. We had been together over 6 years but were only married for 22 days before cancer took her. I miss her so much and sometimes don’t know where to turn. I hope your blog will help. I put on a brave face in public but when I’m alone I just don’t know what to think. I also see a lot of my wife in Helen. My wife would always try and help others. Her smile was infectious and courage was inspirational. I guess all I want to say is thank you for writing your blog. Also I hope this finds you and your children well.

    • Michael Adams says:

      Hi Chris, Really sorry for your loss and hopefully what I have to say will help you somehow. Maybe make you feel like you are not the only one or maybe you can relate to it or even it can help you come to terms with it. It’s a hard process and one that I still continue to follow.. It does get easier and you have goods days and bad days.

      Try and keep smilling 🙂 Feel free to contact me if you would like to chat.

  11. Gemma says:

    Hi Michael,
    Your story and strength is a true inspiration. I was a friend of Helen’s some years ago now. I met Helen through her work at the Spa Medical Centre. Every appointment would turn into a friendly chit chat and it turned out I used to go to school with her sister in law. Helen and I enjoyed a few fun shopping trips together and girlie catch ups but sadly lost contact at around the time she met you. I am truly saddened that Helen has passed away but I am so happy that she met such a devoted partner and went on to have two gorgeous children. I have also suffered with poor health for many years now but reading your blog has inspired me to try and restore positivity back into my life and to achieve my goals.

    Sending you my best wishes
    Gemma

    • Michael Adams says:

      Hi Gemma,

      Thanks for the comment.. Helen certainly loved to chat that’s for sure.

      I am glad this is also helping you. Life is short and full of twists and turns so I think it’s best to make the most of what you have because it can be over in an instant by which time it’s too late.

      Tale care x

  12. Jeff says:

    Michael,
    I feel your pain I lost my beautiful wife 3days after our 11 year wedding anniversary 3weeks ago on august 27th. She lost her 3 year battle with melanoma (skin cancer) we have 2 beautiful children 3 and 9. Our stories are very similar I would like to chat more via email I have lots of questions.

    Jeff.

  13. Hi Michael. I just found your blog. I’m so sorry for your loss. That sounds trite when you see it written down. A ‘loss’ is losing some hours at work or losing your wallet. The death of your beautiful wife is beyond words really. My husband died 21 months ago. I have three children – two teenage sons and a 9 year old daughter. It’s a bit of a constant battle. Looking forward to reading more Michael.

    • Michael Adams says:

      Thanks for connecting with me. Totally agree that it is a constant battle.. ups and downs all the time. Thankfully I feel happy at the moment 🙂 take care x

  14. Chris Askew says:

    Hi Michael – my sister, Kate (from the nursery..) connected me with your blog and your story. And I am so very sorry for your loss. I wish our work at Breakthrough, and the work of others in this area, quite simply deletes this experience from families today and in the future. That’s our vision. Your words and experiences will bring great strength to others. If we can help in any way at all, do say..
    Chris

  15. Joe. C says:

    Hello Michael,
    Last Thursday (16th August 2014) my wife of almost 5 years had to have a biopsy done as a result of other tests being inconclusive for last the year or so (I wont go into the details). This biopsy is to determine if she has cancer or not (although the chances are quite slim). However that dreaded word cancer put a dagger into my head and as I was on a night shift that night at work, my mind started wondering. I started to think how my life would be without my wife and if we get the worst news, how I would cope (We have a son who will be 2 next month). As the shift was not that busy I decided to browse some sites about coping with the loss of a spouse and I stumbled upon your blog through a newspaper article. Maybe I am looking into this a bit too much but if that is a reality, I know I will have to deal with it. Your story in an inspiration to all and I salute you.

  16. ali says:

    i havnt lost my partner .even tho my sons dad past away 7yrs ago when my son was 5yrs old he never knew him.as we wernt together..but this is really about me n my son , im a single mum also an i have just lost my parents in the space of a year, my mum 2nd this february..and we are devastated as we lived with them an he grew up always being with them..the grief is so overwhelming arrrh x

  17. Alan Miller says:

    Hi Michael I was told to go to your site by my counsellor who I am visiting after loosing my wife of 28 years very suddenly. I have been reading your blog and it is helping me come to terms with my feelings and I am going recommend that my 2 grown up kids also read it. Thank you for helping me get through my loss and I am so sorry for your loss too.

  18. George Hartwell says:

    Hi Michael
    I stumbled across your website this evening and I’m glad I did. I haven’t read all of it yet but I do intend to as I feel that it will help me.
    I have been married to Elizabeth for just over 20 years. She is the most amazing person and I love her so much. We have two beautiful children, Maddie(13) and Freddie(12). Our lives together have been idyllic. Elizabeth and I were doing well in our chosen careers and we were financially secure and able to enjoy some wonderful family holidays together.
    At the end of 2013, however, all that changed. Elizabeth had been experiencing pain in her side. Her doctor suspected gall stones so sent her to the hospital for an ultrasound scan. The results showed that the gall bladder was clear but something could be seen on the liver. A ct scan, biopsy and blood tests followed and then we were dealt a blow which turned our world upside down – Elizabeth had liver cancer and it was terminal. We were told that, without chemotherapy, she had about 3 months to live and with chemotherapy, it might be between six and 12 months.
    We went through the extremely painful process of telling our two children that their mother was terminally ill, but that she was going to fight it to try to extend her life as much as possible.
    The cancer on Elizabeth’s liver is secondary cancer and the primary cancer is unknown. Because of this, the palliative chemotherapy which Elizabeth endured was a very harsh regime. The side-effects were devastating,
    but the treatment did appear to slow down the disease. By the end of July, however, the disease became more aggressive and so the treatment had to stop. We decided to have one last family holiday together and so spent two weeks in Madeira. Elizabeth was then able to enjoy watching Freddie start secondary school in September and celebrate Freddie’s 12th birthday at the beginning of October. By then, Elizabeth was getting increasingly unwell and went into the hospice the week after Freddie’s birthday. She has been steadily declining since then.
    As I write this, Elizabeth is not eating or drinking enough to sustain her. She is very weak and emaciated now and sleeps most of the time. In addition to this, she gets very muddled and her lucid moments are getting few and far between. I spend all day every day at the hospice while my sister helps to look after the children. Needless to say, there are just no words to describe how I feel about my lovely wife suffering in this cruel and inhumane manner. All the emotions I am experiencing are so intense and deep – sadness, anger and fear, while at the same time, my love for Elizabeth is brought more sharply into focus.
    Very soon now, I know that I will have some further bad news to deliver to our children. Even though they will be expecting this because we have tried to prepare them, the news will still be a great shock to them. I intend to do my very best for them to help them move forward into the future.
    This year, I have spent all my time with Elizabeth, Maddie and Freddie. I have not been to work as I feel that my place is with my family. I have been witnessing the suffering that this evil and cruel disease has caused to my beautiful family. It is so difficult to be positive at the moment, but I know I must try for the sake of Maddie and Freddie.

  19. Stuart says:

    Dear Mike and all fellow sufferers,
    My beautiful, darling wife of 7 years, lost her battle to stomach cancer on Sunday after 16 months from diagnosis. She was 42 years old. She leaves behind me and our two girls, Emily (5) and Sophie (3) and I am so truly, truly heart broken. I realise that emotions are so raw at the moment and I find comfort from your website that things will ease. I am so proud of my girls. They are coping extremely well and have already helped me to be strong. I am so glad I was able to sideline work for this time to give my complete attention to my wife and children, but things will never be the same again.

  20. abhi says:

    Dear Michael
    I am very sorry to hear of your loss. I can just say I feel your pain as I recently lost my wonderful 36 year old husband before my very eyes to cancer, after just 5 years of marriage. We have a 6 month old son. I need to keep afloat and positive for the sake of our son. He has provided tremendous support in his own way and helped me get through this.
    Your blog is a source of strength as it makes me feel that I am not alone.
    Thank you , and may you continue to get the strength to fight this battle. We are all with you.
    Abhi.

    • Michael Adams says:

      Hi there, as I always say.. so sorry for your loss… but so glad this blog can help in some way.. stay strong x

  21. Ian says:

    Hi Michael

    I found your blog today as I was looking for thoughts of others about the step on the road to my future I made yesterday.
    My wonderful wife of 30 years and childhood sweet heart died 5 years ago after a 9 year battle with breast cancer. I miss her everyday in some way or another but know that I have to take on my life now, she would be concerned if I did not!
    Yesterday I took off my wedding ring and I will not be putting it back on. This in no way reduces the feelings, memories, or respect that I will always have for my wife but does show that I now have feelings and love for a new person who has entered my life. I believe that by continuing to wear the ring I would be being selfish and not understanding of my new partners potential feelings. I have yet to find out what they are but want to be proactive and show that I have made the decision to focus on my future with someone whom I can ‘start again’.
    It has been a strange day, on many occasions looking to touch the ring as I obviously used to do but also feeling that I have made a break with the past and recognised that I am allowed to decide what path I can take to ensure I have a future with happiness and the love I have missed over the past 5 years.

    We all have our journey’s to take, none easy, but time does assist to help you realise that you must allow yourself to move into a new phase of your life, one which would be incorrect not to take on in the full.

    Look after yourself
    Ian

    • Michael Adams says:

      Thanks for taking the time to post this. it’s a common issue for many in our shoes. Like you said removing the ring doesn’t change your feelings.

      I myself will one day remove the ring when I am lucky enough to find love again. however the love I have for my late wife will still continue to burn in my heart.

      All the best on your new future.

      enjoy!

  22. Jaclyn Ortiz says:

    Hi Michael,

    Thanks for this blog. Truly. Of course, you didn’t write all of this for me, but I am so thankful to have come across it. And, you’re right – I didn’t accidentally find this site. I’m here because I was looking.

    There seem to be very few resources for younger widows/widowers with young children. Our situation isn’t better or worse than any others – it just presents its own set of challenges. I’ve had a tough time finding others like myself.

    I’m 38, mama to 5-year old twins, and it’s been 3 months since I lost my husband to oral cancer. He was 37 years old. We were friends for 20 years, together for 16, married for almost 9. I know no other life but am now forced to try.

    The world just feels a teensy bit less scary when I see other people like you. Yes, that cloud will always be there, but you and your children seem to be doing quite well. And that gives me so much hope that this will get a bit easier – at some point.

    So, anyway, thank you. Thanks for helping, even if it wasn’t supposed to be for me. 🙂
    Jax

    • Michael Adams says:

      Hi there, Thanks for your post… sadly there are many people in our situations and I have been able to make contact with quite a few from this blog and some UK based charities. Knowing there are others out there does help and it’s good to talk to them as I find only people in our situation really know how it feels.

      I wish you all the best x

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