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Floundering or Flourishing

Since September I have been here trying to flourish but instead feel like I flounder continually. I have been filling my calendar in an attempt to live. I am keeping the motion in my life- I am trying to say yes to things- Cuba for Christmas, trips with friends, dinners, a mud run, concerts, comedy gigs, yoga and joining a running club. Sometimes I smile and laugh, but I also cry! My heart is heavy, empty and hurts, people forget and expect me to be OK. From the outside I am working, I am doing things, I laugh but what others don’t see is the pain. I feel like screaming, I am not OK- I feel that I am failing- I am floundering and just about surviving! Don’t get me wrong I am doing better than I was, there are more moments of hope for the future, but the journey is lonelier and harder than I could have ever imagined. I am left wondering when or if this pain will ease, when I will feel OK- when I will laugh and mean it! Will I ever feel happy again, carefree? I don’t think I realised the impact of grief on self-esteem and confidence- which are so low at the moment.

All the firsts are filled with heightened emotions- his birthday in October left me utterly devastated. I am facing into December and it’s horrific- what would have been our 1st wedding anniversary, my birthday, Christmas, the anniversary of our engagement- the happiness and hope of such occasions now add to the pain. As others continue their lives and push forward I find it more difficult than anything else to deal with, for example my sister has a new partner and I am delighted for her, she has bought a new house- she is moving on with her life, while I am in this state of just surviving. I seem to be pulled between wanting to move forward and needing to stay exactly where I am. I want all the the same things that we wanted together- I want someone special in my life (but now I need to be OK alone), I want a family, but I want them with him. I am scared for the future, I am terrified that I won’t have all of the things everyone else has. As someone pointed out to me it is nearly 2 years of cancer, caring for him, anticipatory grief and then the eventual grief. I am exhausted and I am scared.

I am trying to be grateful- I loved and was loved, I know how lucky I am to have experienced such love! I know that my life changed beyond all recognition in the space of a year, in a very negative manner, but there is hope that life can also change for the better in a year also and maybe I can be lucky again! I try to hold on to the love and the joy, and that a bad day does not mean a bad life- and that the future will be better! I hold on to my loves hopes for me to be ok, and live a full life- and meet somebody, and I hope in time that can happen, and I can allow it to happen!

Please my love stay with me and help me- I love you now and always will

E xx

 

 

 

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Motion

I left to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, in memory of my beautiful guy, at the end of July. The only thing he had asked of me was to promise that I would be ok. I hoped and prayed, that the trip would allow me to prove to him and to myself that I could be ok! The trip was one of the most physically, emotionally and mentally challenging tasks I have ever undertaken! It coincided with 5 months from his death and the anniversary of his operation which changed the trajectory of our lives!

Everyday of the trip I got up early and walked and climbed, until we reached camp! When it got tough, I asked him to help me and keep me safe! In the group of 17 of us I was the only one who didn’t become sick from the altitude or from the various bugs going around camp- my guy was working overtime trying to protect me!

On summit day, as we prepared to leave camp at midnight to walk through the night and arrive at the summit in the early hours of the following morning, we were all feeling slightly anxious. I became overwhelmed by the emotion and importance that I had attached to reaching the summit. Sensing my apprehension a member of the team remarked before giving me a hug ‘there is strength in every step.’ As we walked in the dark and my body became tired and the oxygen became less I repeated the phrase to myself and again asked him to help me!

As we reached basecamp, I continued on the final journey to reach the summit. As we could see the summit approximately 200m ahead, I began to cry, my best friend held my hand and we walked to the summit together!! The perfectly blue sky which surrounded us as we sat above the clouds, is undoubtedly one of the most incredible sights I am ever likely to see.

I will forever be grateful for my love, and the time we had – if only it could have been longer! I will be forever grateful that he was with me on this journey and that he kept me safe, strong and healthy (to such an extent that the rest of the group nicknamed me ‘the beast!’). For the 1st time in the year since the terminal diagnosis and 5 months since his passing, there was a glimmer of hope in my life, and the possibility of a future! I hope that I made him proud, and that I will continue to do so!

I will continue to ask for his help and guidance- and continue to remind myself that ‘there is strength in every step!’

E xx

 

The cure for grief

This week has been hard, so very hard, and I feel like I am going mad! As I was trying to find some kind of cure for my grief to somehow ease the pain, I came across this video which has spoken so clearly to me! The cure for grief is motion, unknowingly this is what I am doing- I am getting up, I am going to work, I am meeting friends, I am exercising when I am able, I am trying to inject some motion!

I am climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in just over a week for my guy- I had joked with him that we would do this climb on our honeymoon- he laughed and told me he would see me when I got back! I am doing this to show or to prove to him and to myself that I will be ok, that I will survive, that I will and can do as I promised him and live the best life that I possibly can! I am also raising money for the Irish Cancer Society in memory of my guy- so that the wonderful research they are undertaking can continue and at some stage  in the future cancer will no longer result in this traumatic end!

 https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/edel-quinn2

I don’t expect that this motion will cure my grief! Hopefully, when I get to the summit, I will see the blue skies above the grey clouds and know that he is with me.

E xx

The Stages

The five stages of grief are ridiculous! They don’t happen one at a time, they don’t happen as distinct stages, they are overwhelming and terrifying!! There is no timeline, they re-occur, they are never truly done! They can’t be ticked off!

This week I have been through all 5 each day- I feel like I might be going mad! The loss is greater, the loneliness is greater, the hope is less! I miss him, I miss us, I miss me!

E x

 

 

Trying to Live

I have started to venture back into the world, and am so surprised at how upsetting it is that life is moving on when I just want it to stand still! I don’t want to move on, I want time to stop, so it means I can be closer to him- closer to the last time he held me, kissed me, told me he loved me! But unfortunately that is not life. I have to be prepared to move forward but I don’t think I will ever know how to move on! I miss his smile, his sarcastic sense of humour, his bear hugs, and even the times we were arguing!

A friend send me on a plan to protect your mental health at times when it is challenged-

  • Connect: I am staying close to my friends and family, talking to them, talking about him; and I am continuing with counselling.
  • Be Active: I have decided to climb Mt Kilimanjaro in July, it is something we had talked about together (with S laughing that he would see me when I get home and cheer me on from afar- as you may have guessed he wasn’t a huge fan of walking!), and my training allows me to focus on getting out and staying active, on my own and with others.
  • Take Notice: this is one I am working on, but haven’t quite managed- I find meditation and mindfulness activities difficult at the moment.
  • Keep Learning: I have just completed a bread making course, and am looking into photography as it was one of his passions which I want to try and share a little more!
  • Give: I am completing Kilimanjaro for myself and for my guy, bringing him with me and showing myself/ proving to myself that I can survive! I am also raising money for Cancer Research to hopefully prevent other families having to go through something similiar in the future!

So my love I am trying, trying to survive, trying to live. I will continue to try,  to try and pray for strength to continue, to get through the day, to find me again, to live, laugh and love.

So my love please continue to help me!

E xx

Still here

It’s 7 weeks on and I am somehow still here. I could never have imagined being here without my guy! It has been horrendous, I spent the majority of the first month in my pjs, on the couch and in complete shock! There were days when the pain was less and then it came back in floods! There was St Patrick’s day, his month’s memory mass and Easter Saturday and Sunday, each of which caught me, and shook me back to the reality of my life now. I am struggling to sleep, struggling to eat, struggling to be.  I am struggling to know who I am, to recognise myself and to continue living- but I will! I promised him, I told him that it is the responsibility of all those who are living to live their life to the fullest, for their own sake and for the sake of the person who is gone. Therefore I will try, I am trying and praying for strength to continue, to get through the day, to find me again, to live, laugh and love.

So my love please help me!

E x

Loss

On the 28th of February 2017, at 1 pm the love of my life died, he passed peacefully in his sleep, and life has changed forever. I am completely overwhelmed, unable to sleep, eat or speak, so for now I leave the short tribute I read as part of his funeral.

‘In 2012, I met S, an intelligent, kind, gentle and very charming guy. He became my best friend, my fellow adventurer, my BFG and love of my life. And as heartbroken as I am today, I am so grateful for the time we had together. We had such fun… And so many laughs, like when he decided to would trade me for a shop, a leather bag, and a photograph on a holiday in Morocco, adding he should have held out for a Camel too!

S had a great thirst for knowledge, but more important than this, I think he became a historian because of his genuine interest in other people, their stories and their lives.

S adored his family and was especially proud of his nieces, taking every opportunity to let others know what lovely young ladies they are. He shared so many stories about his brother & his sister-in-law, and his parents. I’m so grateful to his parents for raising him to be an incredible man.

When S proposed, he asked me to go on an incredible adventure with him, and we began to plan our future together. Although there were many difficult days over the past year, Shane faced his illness with the same determination that he brought to his life. He faced it with courage, dignity and grace, and his characteristic humour.

When I was thinking about what to say, I came across this short poem:

Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free,
I’m following the path God laid for me.

I could not stay another day,
To laugh, to love, to work, to play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way,
I’ve found that peace at the close of the day.

I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My Life’s been full, I savoured much,
Good friends, good times, a loved one’s touch,

Perhaps my time seemed all too brief,
Don’t lengthen it now with undue grief.

S’s last words to me were:

“Please don’t be upset sweetheart, I love you, I’m just really tired and need to sleep”

So for now… until we meet again, rest in peace my lovely S.’

Broken and frightened,

E xx