Reflections On My Journey With Loving And Losing

  • Time To Say Our Goodbye

    Today I would like to share some thoughts I had back on the evening of Paul's death when I was allowed to return to the room where the nurses had washed Paul, had put a white sheet over him, had put a small bunch of flowers between his hands that were now folded over his chest and had lit a vanilla scented candle on the table beside his bed.

     

    The room felt so peaceful.

    This was the room in which, less than one hour…

    • 23 May 2020
  • We Remember Them

    We Remember Them (by Rabbi Sylvan Kamens and Rabbi Jack Riemer)

     

    At the rising of the sun and at its going down

    We remember them.

    At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter

    We remember them.

    At the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring

    We remember them.

    At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer

    We remember them.

    At the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn

    We remember…

    • 23 May 2020
  • Reflections On What I Have Learned From My Grieving Process

    In this blog post, I am going to share a number of reflections on my grieving process with you.

    1. Anticipatory grief.

    Shortly after Paul's death, people would say to me that I was now in the early stages of my bereavement. And I realised that that wasn't true. I had been grieving for Paul since the moment we got the diagnosis of liver secondaries.

    This phenomenon is called "anticipatory grief".

    I cried…

    • 1 Nov 2019
  • Reflections On What I Have Learned From My Time As A Carer

    In my previous blog posts, I have told you about the time when my man was sick, our journey through this very difficult time and the end of his life. In this blog post, I would like to tell you what I feel I have learned from the time when I cared for him. My hope is that some of the things I am going to write will help some of you who are still in the role of a carer and make some things a little easier for you. But…

    • 29 Oct 2019
  • When To Love Means To Let Go

    This time last year, I was sitting by my husband's bedside in the hospital and I said the words that were the most beautiful and the most heart-breaking words I would ever say: It is okay if you want to let go now."

    Those words were the most beautiful and loving words I could say to him. I knew how courageously he had been battling with prostate cancer for 15 years. I knew how sick he had become, particularly…

    • 14 May 2019
  • The Final Hours

    We were in the DayWard for a long time. Nurses came in and took bloods for different blood tests. The oncologist came to insert a bladder catheter. They put Paul on bag after bag of fluids. And they put him on antibiotics. I held Paul's hand, stroked his arm, stroked his forehead and spoke to him gently telling him that I loved him, that we were getting help now and that everything would be all right. . He seemed to be…

    • 16 Apr 2019
  • The Final Months

    Paul had to go for a further set of scans in early February of 2017. By that time he had been off Chemotherapy for almost five weeks and we were both concerned that the cancer might start to grow again if we didn't continue Chemotherapy soon. One week after the scans we had the appointment with the oncologist.

    "The scans are the same as the last scans from November," he informed us.

    We were silent. We both…

    • 9 Apr 2019
  • The First Months On Chemotherapy

    "You see," the oncologist said calmly, "what has happened here is that your cancer has spread into the liver."

    I can still remember the shocked silence in the room. Even though we had been expecting to hear this, when we actually heard it, we felt really shocked.

    I don't know what Paul was thinking, but I know that I thought: Once cancer has metastasised to the liver it is really bad.

    The oncologist…

    • 5 Apr 2019
  • The Importance Of Scans

    Before I continue telling our story, I want to share a thought I am really passionate about: Scans for patients with any form of advanced cancer have to be performed every six months. It is not right to only perform scans when the patient has developed symptoms or when specific tumor markers have gone beyond the normal range. Many tumors would be discovered a lot sooner, and in many cases they would be much more treatable…

    • 2 Apr 2019
  • A Word On Love

    Before I continue sharing Paul's and my story, I thought I would briefly comment on love and our relationship.

    I suppose most people would say that their relationship was something really special; and yet, when I look at many relationships around me, I feel that Paul's and my relationship was truly something very special and different from a lot of relationships I know.

    Firstly, when Paul and I met, it felt…

    • 2 Apr 2019
  • A Time Of Uncertainty

    In autumn of 2016, Paul and I had come to one of our regular appointments with the oncologist. We were so sure everything would be fine. But the oncologist informed us that Paul's PSA had gone up a little. He said that there was no need to get worried just yet but that it seemed like Zytiga was slowly losing effect.

    I remember that we drove home in silence. The minute we got in, Paul switched on the TV and tried…

    • 29 Mar 2019
  • A Time Of Fear And Then Relief: Learning To Cherish Each Moment

    In 2013, Paul's PSA level began to rise. He began to feel unwell too with weakness, nausea, vomiting and lack of appetite. He lost a lot of weight in a very short period of time.

    In the spring of 2014, CT and bone scan revealed that the cancer had spread to bones and lymph nodes. Looking back on it now, I cannot understand why the scans were performed as late as spring of 2014; I mean, the PSA had been going up and…

    • 28 Mar 2019
  • The Good Times

    I met my husband Paul in June of 2009 in Marburg, a small town in Germany, where we both attended a Buddhist seminar. Being from Germany originally, I had been living in the small town in the south of Germany for many years, whereas Paul had come from Dublin in Ireland to join the weekend course. I think Paul and I would probably never have spoken to one another, if one of the lectures during the seminars hadn't been…

    • 28 Mar 2019