Death plus 2 years

The 2 year anniversary came and went and it seemed I was once again surrounded by deep thoughts of death. Over a fortnight I had been interviewed and recorded a one hour podcast on ‘my journey’, been contacted by a woman in New Zealand whose husband had recently been diagnosed with a brain tumour (she was 8 weeks pregnant), been written up in a Cancer Council article for my fundraising efforts, had a woman from Milan want to visit me at home to discuss her boyfriends brain hemorrhage and I had printed my wedding photos (finally).

I feel grateful that I have come out of the experience as well as I have and mostly think this is a choice in how to respond to grief. This had a lot to do with my husband’s total acceptance of the diagnosis of terminal cancer and his ability to transform a dire situation into something so peaceful and wonderful. He taught me in his few short months of remaining life that everything that surrounds us is special and wonderful. I don’t mean to write this in a generalist form rather everything needs to be appreciated and cherished.

After the craniotomy he woke a different man. This man who was once myopically career driven, operating on superdrive and only future focussed had slowed down to the point that each moment was considered in depth and noted. That first breath of air as he woke from the drug induced slumber, the huge smile realising he was still alive, the first touch as he reached out his hand to me grasping it tightly… then he laughed so loudly it took my brother and I by surprise. It was pure joy expressed from the inner depths. Joy to breathe and still be living.

What irritates me now and I have to constantly curb myself in conversations with people is their annoyance at the most trivial things. Their complaints of the stress of living a busy life, a lack of patience with their kids and partners who just want to be heard. If only I could tell them to be grateful for those small things they have to and can do each day. To spend more quality time with their kids rather than handing them a device so they can take themselves off and scroll through their social media mindlessly. To just sit in the sun and feel the warmth on their face and enjoy a cup of tea in nature. He taught me to stop and listen to the world and really feel each moment.

I write in bed this morning after I have woken with my precious son lying beside me gently sleeping. I listen to the rhythm of his breath and the birds outside my window at sunrise. I think of my husband each day and wonder what life would be like still married and sharing the care of our son and seeing him flourish together. Forever grateful that Russ gave me this gift of life in our son and knowing his spirit is with us in every moment we stop to pause and reflect on the beauty of life each day.

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