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In 2020, as my husband & I were learning to cope with my degenerative disease, David was diagnosed with stage 4 throat cancer.
We gathered a great medical team. We decided to keep living our lives & meet challenges as they arose.
Always very close, open & honest, we rode the ups & downs together.
We were coping with the ongoing surgery side effects & looking forward to the rollback of C19 restrictions.
Two weeks after David’s 1yr cancer all clear in 2/2022 he contracted the severe form of Japanese Encephalitis Virus from a mosquito bite.
3mths in ICU, fully alert & hoping for recovery from the spinal cord damage. Unfortunately the quadriplegia & need for breathing ventilation was permanent. Plus the nerve damage was extending to the heart electrics.
David chose palliation to journey to heaven on his own terms. Such courage & dignity. His only concern was who would look after me. He passed away peacefully to his favourite music in my arms.
We chose to be open & engage family & friends throughout both journeys. The support & assistance kept both of us sane & the home fires burning.
The second choice to allow trusted journalists from credible media broadcasters to follow David’s story.
This was a difficult added burden, but necessary for information to the public & advocate to the Australian Government.
Both as a registered nurse & wife, I have been an assertive advocate & carer for David’s health & wellbeing.
There’s been battles on many fronts. BS called out, financial strain, extreme exhaustion, feebly coping at home, leading a rehab focus in an ICU environment, & putting together a service that honoured a wonderful man, husband & quiet community achiever.
People say I’m strong, jeez… not.
The grief & pain so crushing I was numb.
In a small country town the plight & death of a such a well loved member touched everyone. After comforting everyone else for weeks I had to withdraw & all but hermit at home & focus on myself.
And you know what, that’s okay.
It is important to make boundaries in many various facets of life & choose to care for yourself. Find what works for you to grieve. Allow & accept that it’s a messy nonlinear journey. Some days are dark, but there is increasing light.
I participated in one of Griefline’s 4 week 2hr counsellor facilitated online groups. The validation of sharing with like others wonderful. Understanding the journey & learned mindful therapies I found very valuable.
David & our memories will be a part of my future, whatever that entails.
I am the author of the ongoing chapters of my life. And to live it to honour him with gratitude, kindness, & happiness in my heart.