Reflections on the fourth anniversary of my husband’s death
Four years ago, on 16th May 2018, my darling husband died from organ failure at a cancer hospital in Dublin, and even though it was breaking my heart, I knew that it was the best for him. He had been living and fighting with an aggressive form of prostate cancer for more than 15 years which, in the final ten months of his life, had required him to be on chemotherapy which had stopped the cancer from growing further in his liver but which had also left him feeling weak, fatigued and nauseated. Paul had said more than once that he had had enough, and I wished for him to be at peace that night four years ago, I really did. I was sitting by his bedside, holding my hand over his heart-centre trying to convey as much safety and calm as I possibly could, as he was lying unconscious, his breathing already shallow and sometimes stopping for such a long time that I was certain he wouldn’t breathe in again, and whispering words of love to him and repeating over and over that it was okay for him to let go.
This year’s anniversary felt different to the previous ones. This year I felt his presence very strongly with me all day. I went to Port Manork beach yesterday afternoon, walked bare foot through the sand and into the waves, thinking about Paul and us and how much we loved going to the sea together, and it was both sad to realise once again that we would never ever be able to go to the beach together ever again but comforting that these thoughts and memories are still with me and that I am able to evoke them at any moment of my life.
Yesterday evening I wrote the following lines in my diary:
“Dear Paul, I am sitting here after a lovely long day on the beach and think of you on your fourth anniversary. I miss you, of course I do. I have been missing you from the moment you were no longer with me. But I also know that I have learned to live with the loss. I have learned to live with the pain of your absence. I have learned to live with my grief. It is so sad that cancer took you away from me so cruelly so soon. We didn’t get the chance to have much of the life we dreamed of. I will be eternally grateful to have had your love, your beautiful presence, your wonderful personality in my life. I was, and still am, proud to be your wife. I guess I can say that I have learned a lot during the last four years, and the main thing is that missing you every day and moving forward with my life every day is no longer a contradiction. I sometimes don’t know what I am doing, but I am doing my best, and I think you would be proud of me. Forever yours, Mel.”
I wanted to share those lines with you, my readers, today in the hope that there is some Solis for you in those words. Maybe you are going through your own grief right now, or are witnessing someone else’s, and you feel as though it will never end. Thinking that it will never end can make us feel helpless and small. And, no, I can’t tell you that it will ever go away, because in my experience it doesn’t. But what I can say is that it will change and you will come to a point where it is possible to live with your grief without feeling that it is breaking your heart over and over again. This is my wish for you: that you can feel that while the pain of loss is hard to be with, it is possible to learn to live with it, step by step, every day.
Part of what has helped me to get through the last four years and to where I am today is Reiki – and I have been receiving Reiki on a monthly basis and in the early stages of my grief even more -, the essential oils from do TERRA, and my Mindfulness Meditation practice.
Reiki healing, energy work in general, the essential oils from do TERRA, and Mindfulness Meditation combined with the weekly support calls are all included in the Living With Loss program, an initially 6-months long support program that I have developed for you as you are going through grief and bereavement. You can get to where I am today – I KNOW IT!