I wrote the following for my wife Yvonne on 19th August 2017.
"Yvonne is living
When you ask me how Yvonne is, invariably I say not too bad. If you ask her,she will tell you she’s fine. Actually, she’s not. But Yvonne is living!
Yvonne has stage four secondary bone cancer with the primary tumour in one of her breasts. This cancer is incurable. She has tumours throughout her skeleton but most predominantly on her spine, her ribs, and her hips. The cancer has eaten away at her bones and they have crumbled leaving her with scoliosis of the spine. She lives with fractures to her neck, her back and her ribs. But Yvonne is living.
Yvonne takes a variety of medications including morphine for pain relief and steroids, anti inflammatories, anti sickness, female hormone therapy, calcium, anti coagulants, anti water retention, and a monthly bone strengthening infusion. She is in pain every day of her life mostly because her level of morphine is insufficient to control her level of pain. She could up the morphine dose whenever she feels the need but she never does as she prefers the awareness of life through pain rather than the semi comatose life through drugs. But Yvonne is living.
Yvonne has regular hospital appointments for meetings with her oncologist, MRI scans, CT scans, Bone scans, radiotherapy, blood tests and other tests. After every test there is the fearful and agonising waiting period to find out if there is good news or bad news. But Yvonne is living.
Yvonne cries herself to sleep most nights partly through pain and partly through the fear of dying. She has to put up with my fussing and constant worrying, my bad moods when I get tired from worrying, and my tears when I get tired of being strong. But Yvonne is living.
This is our life, this is our daily struggle but through all of this, we are grateful that Yvonne is living."
Little did I know then that less than 2 months later. 12th October, Yvonne would no longer be living. Another victory for Cancer and another broken heart which has to find way to carry on, without any real desire to do so. What becomes of us?
Whoever said “time is a healer”? It’s nearly 2 years and I still cry most days and I still see no future without her. So what is “life after bereavement”?