So today would have been my 20th wedding anniversary. My previous posts have told the trauma of that time. In 2000, I had just had surgery for cancer, and we didn’t know if it had spread and how long I would have left. Now 20 years later, miraculously, I’m still here but those of you who have been reading my previous blog posts know that life has been nothing if not challenging.
When Nick was diagnosed with kidney cancer in March 2017, we were led to believe we would have some time left together. Maybe we didn’t hear what the doctors were saying or they gave us conflicting views, but we believed there was some time. How much we didn’t know, but certainly not just the 3 months post-surgery following the removal of his cancerous kidney. To say my world was completely tipped over is an understatement. You have read the journey I have taken since I lost Nick. I’ve written it because it is cathartic, and I hope it may help others who are going through something similar. I want to tell you where I am now.
Throughout this time, I have been supported by my beloved family and friends.
Nick and I ran a construction company (he ran it, I did as I was told) and it has taken the last few years to wind this business up. All this time I have also been supported by a close friend of Nick’s also in the construction business who stepped in when Nick (and I) were floundering. I can still remember ringing him, seated in the hospice garden when I didn’t know where else to turn. He didn’t hesitate and has been invaluable in helping me complete the outstanding jobs and close the business. I could not have got to this point without him and I will always be so grateful to him for his unwavering support when I needed it most.
As time went on our friendship grew and my heart began to thaw. From living without any sunlight or hope through the darkness, he showed me I could find love again and that there was a life out there for me. Albeit a different one in every way from my expectations, it came as a surprise and for a while I was in denial, but nonetheless a happy and loving life. My head started to accept the change and hope entered my heart. I found happiness again from a completely unexpected place.
Unfortunately, things recently have taken a different path to the one I was hoping for. Just as I began to believe and have faith that, although things may be difficult, there was now something to look forward to, I had found someone to love and cherish again, everything changed. This was the person who had calmed me at my worst, wiping snot from my tearstained face when I was overwhelmingly consumed by grief and wanting to end it all. He stood by me for the worst two years of my life with patience, kindness and care. He gave me hope that there was a life out there again for me. Now my loving friend has decided he can no longer wait for me and he has to put his own needs first. Understandable, but a crushing blow as I come to terms with the heartache and disappointment of what was the possibility of a future together. Two years is nothing in the grieving process to come to a place of acceptance after the kind of relationship I had with Nick. I could see I was thawing from my shocked position and moving forward, learning and accepting that I was not dishonouring Nick by having feelings for someone else.
But it is not to be.
So, what now?
As hard as it has been and still is, I must somehow find a way to pick myself up, dust myself off and go forward again. My recent experience has shown me many things – that cloaking myself in my grief and building a wall around myself does not prove how much Nick meant to me. That having feelings for someone else is not being unfaithful or disloyal to Nick. That my heart isn’t finished with relationships yet. I like feeling special to someone and making them feel special too.
I’m not looking for another Nick. He was a one off. It’s a funny thing, losing a spouse. It’s not like divorce where you make choices. Even if you are the one left behind you know that person still exists, they still walk the earth. Losing Nick meant that no matter how hard I look through a crowd, I will never see his beloved, familiar face again. That part of my life was precious, but it’s gone. He will never be forgotten and to move forward I have to accept that. I believe he would want me to find someone else to make new memories with. But first I have to get my mojo back again and get myself to a place where I can function properly.
This recent world situation has made me think. What to do with my life and what is on my wish list? At the moment, probably like most of you, I’m taking it day by day, not looking too far ahead but maybe in time, walking the South West Coastal path? Going to live in southern France for a while? The Inca trail? Drive around New Zealand for a few months? Who knows what. There’s a lot out there to see and experience.
So, once the world is open, I will be making plans. I would like to find someone to share life’s adventures with again and while I’m doing that, I will have a few adventures of my own. This heart is open for business.
I hope you and your loved ones are well and happy.