Today marks 1172 days since cancer came into our family. 1168 days since my husband and I walked through the doors of this hospital, hand in hand, for the very first time.
Those doors were the last thing my husband saw of the outside world, before being wheeled into an ambulance and brought home to die. He said, at that point, that a bag for life would probably be an unwise investment.
Today, 463 days since my husband died, and 343 days since my own diagnosis, I walk out of the same doors once again, on my own, to the outside world, for what we all hope will be the very last time. To freedom. To our children. To countless more days.
Here, they’ve given me the most precious gift – my life, wrapped up in a metaphorical box with a bow, when my husband couldn’t even begin to pick off the sellotape. Here, my treatment has finished, and I am cancer free. The words don’t even seem real, after so many days of nothing but cancer. It’s going to take a while to adjust.
To say thank you, I brought a big box of chocolates for my radiographers, and asked them to share it around my husband’s oncology team as well, in the room next door.
Next week, it’s our fifteenth wedding anniversary. My husband’s life in a box – the ashes which are all that remain of his hands, his smile, and his wonderful mind – will be interred in the church yard where we stood and kissed for our wedding photographs, and where his dearest friends carried his coffin as we said our goodbyes. In sickness and in health, I was with him, and he with me. Maybe it’s time now to let him rest.
Until my husband and I meet again, I’m going to do one thing – for him, for our children, and for me.
I’m going to invest in a bag for life.