The Luxury of Grief.

It’s been a while since I wrote anything here. Not because I’ve had nothing to say, but because I’ve had no time to say it.

The few months after my last post were relatively normal, but under the shadow of a cancer that wouldn’t go away. Back in the summer, hubby had three weeks of chemo which nearly killed him. He couldn’t walk, speak or breathe, and decided that he wanted to enjoy whatever time he had left. When you feel that shit, you think death would be a blessed relief, but at the same time, you don’t really believe it’ll ever actually come. After that, we just lived. Normally (ish.) We went on holiday, and were talking about where we might go to next before we’d even come home. He did the school run, and mucked in with the cooking. He helped me to price difficult jobs in the business we run together, and ferried the boys to footy, drama, youth club and the rest. He carried on doing the job he loved, in the hope of putting away a bit of cash for the future of the boys he’d always wanted to see graduate, if not get married, and life went on… Although, feeling “fine” through all of these everyday events – particularly the open day of the wonderful secondary school we’ve spent every Sunday for over a decade racking up God Miles to get them in to – is darkened by the nagging wonder of whether or not he’ll live to see them start their very first year.

The shadow of terminal illness is ever-present. It follows you to the loo, and hits you in the face at the supermarket when you’re trying to work out which butter is the best value. It eats away at your sleep and your comfort, but it hasn’t let me cry.

Grief is a luxury afforded to those who are on the outside. The man we vaguely know from parties thrown by a mutual friend, who bumped into my husband at the changing room at the gym, and who came out of there in floods of tears and sobbed on my shoulder. The good friend who broke down on hearing the news and vowed to do everything she could to help us to fight it together. The fellow mums in the playground who come up and hug me and ask how things are going, while trying to hold back the tears as they admit it’s not they who should be crying-  it’s me. But it isn’t me. I can’t seem to feel that this is real at all. It seems that, by taking a step back and looking in, the perspective changes. They know it’s incurable. They can imagine life without him because they’ve seen it happen to other people they know, and anyway, they’re not the ones having their entire worlds turned upside down. It’s shit, they say, and I nod and say yes it is, but you never know – it’s not over until the fat lady sings (or in our case, until the man I love is lying cold in my arms. I don’t say that bit out loud.)

Everyone congratulates our family for our relentless positivity. No wonder he’s doing so well, they say. Positivity kills cancer, they say. You’re an inspiration to us all, they say.

But, it’s impossible to grieve for something which you don’t really believe is happening in the first place.

Love Fanny x

I began to write this post a few months ago, and never got around to finishing it at the time. My husband passed away on April 14th 2016.

 

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