Hi, it is 8 weeks today since my beautiful wife of 38 years passed away, suddenly and completely unexpectedly, in Tenerife. She collapsed on the bed, with her eyes wide open, but unseeing, and her breathing was raggedy. I immediately called an ambulance, which arrived within 20 minutes, but her heart and breathing stopped in the ambulance, and attempts to resuscitate her at the hospital were unsuccessful. I drove to the hospital in my car, and was stunned to be told that she had died. I was then told that I had to arrange an undertaker immediately, as they did not have facilities to store her body. I was able to contact a Spanish friend, who organised an undertaker to meet me at the hospital. The undertaker informed me that she would be cremated the following day, and that I would be unable to attend the cremation due to Coronavirus restrictions. I was able to pay my respects to her body before they took her away.
I was then left to return to the empty apartment that we had shared up to that moment, and was restricted to that apartment for 4 weeks, due to the lockdown in Spain. Restrictions have eased in Spain over the last 4 weeks, and I have been able to see some people in that time, but I am still stranded in Tenerife, while all of my family, and most of my friends are in the UK, and unable to visit me. I receive many phone and FaceTime calls each day, which helps, but I haven’t had physical contact, even a hug, in the 8 weeks since she passed. It borders on inhuman.
A friend did recommend a counsellor to me, who has been of great support, I don’t know how I would have managed without the counselling. At the beginning, I was in shock and denial, the reality that she has gone has just started to sink in, but I still have a sense of disbelief that she is no longer here.
Although Joan had just turned 73, she was extremely fit, and people assumed she was in her early 60s. She started to feel fatigued last October, and began to suffer with chronic indigestion, she was misdiagnosed with a fatty liver by her GP in the UK. Since retiring, we had spent the winters in Tenerife, and we made an appointment to see a specialist in Tenerife about her chronic indigestion. The fatty liver turned out to have been secondary tumours on her liver, and, in February, a primary tumour was diagnosed in her colon. She had just started chemotherapy, and we were both confident that she would beat the cancer. It turned out that the cancer had spread to other organs, as well as her liver. Apart from the cancer treatment, she was on no other medication. She was fanatical about eating well, had never smoked in her life, and was a moderate drinker. We thought we had years left together.
Until you experience the bereavement of a spouse, you have no idea of the pain. Family and friends want you to be okay, they don’t like to see you grieving, but it’s impossible not too, I haven’t learned how to put on a brave face yet. I really just wish that I could go to sleep at night, and not wake up the next day, nobody wants to hear that, either.
I know that it’s still early days, but I really don’t feel like I’ll ever have any kind of life ever again. For 38 years, we were at each other’s side every day, we worked together, we played together, we never spent one night apart. I have not only lost my wife, I have lost my best friend and my soulmate too. A blissfully happy life turned to misery in the blink of an eye.
I am hoping that I am able to return to England in early July, then I am able to be with my family, and, hopefully, receive some hugs, and then we can finally have a ceremony to say goodbye to her. Alan