This has turned out to be a bit of a busy week. Earlier today had a brief zoom interview with stv about the up and coming “National Day of Reflection” on 23rd March.
I was approached a couple of weeks ago by Marie Curie on behalf of stvNews if I would do a short interview about what the National Day of Reflection meant to me after having lost my Wife to Cancer During Covid Lockdown in September 2020. 😥
in past few weeks I have been giving the story of my sadly cut short relationship with Gillian. From when we first met to dealing with her final illness and sadly her loss.
Today Marie Curie published the article on their website.
“There are so many people, hundreds even thousands of people who’ve died from conditions other than Covid-19 this last year. If you look at the news coverage, you could be forgiven for thinking that the only thing people have died from in the last 12 months is coronavirus. That’s not right and I wouldn’t want Gillian’s death forgotten. It’s so important to remember everyone we’ve lost in the past 12 months.”
Woke up this morning to the sad news that Sabine Schmitz (Queen of the Nürburgring) has lost her battle with cancer.
Another good one taken from us far too soon at the hands of Cancer. Just 6 months and one day after loosing my Gillian to cancer.
I really hope when all this nonsense is over that the resources used to tackle covid get transferred to tackling cancer, but I bet they won’t!!!
Cancer is still the bigger C word taking more lives in the UK than Covid! That’s right, covid is just a flash in the pan. Cancer has been around much longer and will continue to be here, killing people and disrupting families long after covid is dealt with!
We may never know how many cancer deaths occurred across 2020/21 due to cancelled or postponed treatment that was later declared a covid death!
I was due to start chemotherapy treatment a year ago in March 2020 but never got it due to the appointment being cancelled as we went into lockdown. Fortunately, I have been getting tests every 6 months or so, and so far all clear.
Each year In the UK, Cancer takes more lives than covid!
Think about that! Please, if you notice any new lumps, strange bleeding, anything odd or sudden changes in your body get yourself checked! Speaking from personal experience get checked early!…
So far I’m surviving cancer but so many each year don’t!
Roughly 12 months ago marks the start of the shittyest year of my life! And I’ve had some pretty crap times medically over the years!
12 months ago was the starting point of the process for me getting diagnosed with bladder cancer. For which I still have to go back into hospital every few months, for the next few years for checks to ensure it doesn’t come back. Gillian was in shock when I told her the confirmed diagnosis at the start of the year. She was so worried when the word ‘cancer’ was mentioned. Fortunately, it’s one of the easiest ones to treat and by the time it was confirmed I’d already had an operation to remove what they found.
As the months rolled on in 2020 a close uncle of mine died of cancer. Not long after that, my darling wife and soulmate Gillian was diagnosed with cancer and passed away just a couple of weeks later, at home, in my arms. Things happened so quickly!
For all the medical problems, diagnoses and operations I’ve had in the past. Including removing an internal organ, multiple tumours removed from my spine & ribcage. Some nearly the size of a tennis ball. + more
Why am I still here?.. When what often appears to be better, stronger, healthier people are not! I just have to hold on to the belief that there is some reason for it.
But I tell you, it’s bloody painful! There are some amazingly good times to be had in life. The past 8 years with Gillian have been the best! But one thing life, is not.. and that’s fair!
There have been other personal things going on the last 12 months as well, which I’m not going to talk about here. But please note, not one mention of covid or lockdown in the above! Quite frankly those don’t even scratch the surface of the past 12 months for me!
The purpose of this post is to highlight the fact that although everyone has been shouting about 2020 being the worst year ever due to lockdown restriction. There are families out there who are going though so much more pain and grief and suffering on top of what people are complaining about!
Time is precious! make the most of it!
Don’t waste hours each day playing on your phone!
Go outside and enjoy the world in which we live!
Be kind to each other & don’t take anything for granted!
Be grateful for everything you have! no matter how much or how little that may be.
Focus on your strengths, not what you ‘think’ are flaws and weaknesses!
It’s your life, no one else’s, don’t let others control you!
Concentrate on the positives and be happy!
Happiness and Love are the two most valuable things we have. Not money or fame. If you disagree, then you’ve never truly known either Happiness or Love. I’ve lost nearly all mine in recent months, so I understand the value of them.
Please, take care and look after yourselves.
P.s. This was one of those awake through the night brain dumps, due to current sleep disruption. Hope it makes sense, I’m fairly sure some of Gillian’s words have made it in there also.
If you know someone who has been widowed at a young age, please pass on the details of the group to them, even privately or discreetly if you have to.
But please let them know the group exists! It doesn’t matter about their background or how they became widowed. Whether it was medically related or an accident, e.t.c. The point is, it’s bringing everyday people who are suffering together, to help them understand the pain they are going through.
It’s still very early days for me but the charity has already been helping me understand why my mind and body are being so erratic just now and will, unfortunately, continue to do so. Simply by reading everyone else’s stories, chatting with other members. It’s helping me understand why I feel the way I do and struggle to do certain basic tasks that were previously 2nd nature to me.
WAY have their own discussion forums, 24/7 helplines and also private Facebook groups where people can safely open up about what they are going through. Lots of private subgroups, more dedicated to certain areas, for example, those with or without children + several more. I simply can’t describe how it feels both mentally and physically to go through something like this. It’s not what you expect to be grief from losing someone. The only way for someone to understand is to have unfortunately gone through a similar loss themselves.
Which is why WAY works so well. It’s members have all gone through the same loss in their life. Every member of WAY understands, they “Get it”!
Privacy is the utmost and none of the stories or discussion topics are public. It is a safe haven to release your frustrations, get your questions answered, and most importantly feel comfortable about how strange and worrying everything feels.
It’s such a shame with all the lockdown nonsense this year that people aren’t able to meet up in person, so it’s all mostly online just now, but it still helps! The sooner these lockdown restrictions are lifted the better for everyone’s mental wellbeing!
Things feel so unnatural and indescribable, yet somehow that’s normal !?!, and being able to share that with people who truly understand is invaluable. You don’t ever get over it! You just try your best to live with your new life going forward, with your loved one still being a part of you, yet no longer physically by your side.
As I said at the top, if you or you know someone who has been widowed at a young age, please pass on the details of WAY to them. No matter whether their loss was recent or a few years ago. Some members don’t find WAY until a year or more later and they all say they wish they found it sooner on their journey! The support is there by way of real people going through the same horrific change in their life!