At the end of September 2009, Jeff (my fiancé at the time) was diagnosed with stage IV esophageal cancer. It was like the rug had been pulled out from underneath us – here we were planning our future together and now our future was uncertain. But that's not the cruel twist of fate....

He was to start chemo in October but before he did that, I wanted to get married. He was reluctant, worried about marrying me under these circumstances but I won out in the end by telling him – I would rather have a few moments of extraordinary, then a lifetime of nothing special. And we had extraordinary…..we planned a beautiful wedding in just four days, and two days after that he started chemo.

He did well on chemo – his cancer markers started to decline and his Dr’s were please with his progress. Enough so that they told him they would give him a break so we could go on our honeymoon. In January we went on a cruise to the Bahamas and had the most relaxing, romantic, incredible vacation…..we left our worries behind and just enjoyed every second we had together.

When we returned Jeff went back on chemo, only this time his response was amazing….so much so that the Dr’s started talking about doing radiation as well. Radiation started in May, a long grueling month, but Jeff managed to smile every day and in June we got the most amazing results – the tumor in his esophagus was GONE. The Dr. who had done his scope told me immediately, warning me that they still needed to do biopsies, but she was very pleasantly surprised. Well, the biopsies came back two weeks later showing NO active cancer cells. Now to work on the lymph node involvement!

The chemo started again in June – his cancer marker test results came back within normal ranges. Nothing but good news! We were realistic, that “curing” stage IV esophageal cancer was not going to happen, but in the least we thought by going through everything he had in the last 9 months we had bought him YEARS more.

But that would all change on July 17, 2010. Just two weeks ago. We were laying in bed that night watching tv as we always did, curled up next to each other holding hands when Jeff complained of a throbbing headache. I gave him a couple of Motrin and he laid back down again….but within seconds he sat back up and said he was so dizzy and lightheaded. He leaned forward holding his chest and said he felt like he was having a heart attack. Before I could respond he fell back into a seizure. I dove over him and called 911, started cpr…..but he was gone. Right before my eyes he was gone. The paramedics tried everything but nothing brought him back. I found out later he died from ventricular fibrillation which led to cardiac arrest.

Were we not just celebrating how well he was doing? Had we not just booked a camping trip for the following weekend? Were we not enjoying a calm after the rollercoaster ride of emotions we had been on for the last 9 months?

I wake up every morning and I am again hit with the reality that my dear sweet man is gone. I live with no regrets – I know in my heart we could not possibly have shown more love, more appreciation to each other every day. I was his princess and he was my prince, there was nothing left unsaid. Yet I am still left with this aching emptiness inside. I feel robbed, I feel overwhelming sadness, I feel lost.

Jeff was every second of every day, we were best friends and always did everything together. If I wasn’t with him, I was talking to him. If I wasn’t talking to him, I was thinking about him. Even now, he is in every thought.

I know I am supposed to cherish every memory…..and we lived a lifetime in the last 4 years, we created so many happy memories. I will ultimately continue my life as he and I had lived, enjoying each day, finding a new reason every day to say Life is Good. But not just yet…..my heart is broken and as much as I want to be strong for him, as much as I want to smile again, as much as he would want me to…..the sadness wins over. I am hopeful that it won’t be like this forever. I am so grateful for every second I had with him, so thankful that God showed me what true love should really feel like, but I still feel cheated out of many more years of happiness.

Please tell me that this gets easier??

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Replies to This Discussion

Hi Tammy,
Bless your heart! I know exactly how you feel and am so sorry for your loss!! I experienced something very similar. My fiance, Junior, passed away on June 20, 2009. We had known each other since about 1965 . . I was 12 years old!! He was about age 24 at that time, so we were only friends. We have always remained friends as we were never able to go out because of my age. He had a marriage of 34 years that ended in early 2007, and my 28-year-marriage ended in divorce in 2002. He then called me in mid-2007; we began going out two days later. We became inseparable--we did everything together!! One of the greatest things that happened was while sitting on my sofa watching tv one night, he put his arm around me and told me that he had waited 40-years to do that and it was worth the wait!! Tammy, he was my soulmate -- the love of my life!!! Fortunately, he was retired and I was only working part-time. We began traveling together - both he and I loved to fish, travel . . I loved to do anything he was doing!!! All I wanted to do is be with him, and thank goodness, he wanted the same. He even made changes to his hunting house so that I could go camping and deer hunting with him the winter of 2008!! He made sure I had everything that I would need. We had so much fun camping, riding his 4-wheeler, trying to stay awake and not snore so deer would come!! We also visited the beach about bi-monthly to fish and visit friends. In April 2008 he was diagnosed with colon cancer with mets to the liver! He began chemo treatments in May 2008. He was fine for about the first year - we still traveled, fished, hunted, everything!! Of course, some days he did not feel as well as others. We were making plans to get married in early June 2009. He had asked both his step-daughter and his brother what they thought - then told them that we were going to get married in June 2009. In May 2009, he began having fluid buildup . . our world went downhill from there. He was in and out of the hospital some. We were living between his house and my apartment. On June 6 his doctor told us that we needed to get hospice involved--his counts had skyrocketed!! We had 14 days left from that day. We had some of the sweetest times, best conversations, and most of all -- the time to let each other know how very much we meant to each other!! We also had time to pray together, laugh and cry together! We were in our apartment when they brought in hospital bed. On Friday, June 19, hospice nurse told me that we didn't have long - that I needed to "give him permission to go" - he was worried about me!!! Talk about something hard to do!! Some time during that day, I told him just to get some sleep, I would be fine. He said "no - not that kind of sleep, not yet. we need more time". He passed away on Saturday morning with me holding his hand, sitting at his bedside. So I know what you mean when you say you lost the love of your life, because I did the same!! My heart is still broken - some days are better than others, still there are days when the least thing/memory makes me cry! But thank goodness I have beautiful memories and a love that no one can take away. I like you feel cheated out of so many more years of happiness -- but know that I am blessed to have had the 2 years we had!!! I actually learned what it was like to be shown what/how true love is and actually felt. I experienced more happiness in that 2 years than I had the entire 28 years I was married to my ex -- who passed away on May 27, 2009.

Just remember to cherish the memories you have and be thankful for the time you and Jeff had. Not many people are as fortunate to actually have the loves of our life!! Hopefully it will get easier . . some time in the future!! God bless and keep you, hon. Write me any time you would like @ debbier53@hotmail.com. Have a great night and week!

Hugs!
Debbie
My husband died in June 2009. he was diagnosed with Stage 2 esophageal cancer in February 09. After getting several opinions he decided on chemo and radiation then surgery - which was supposed to give him the best chance. Instead he had the surgery on June 8th, then died on June 25th from complications. I keep telling myself we made the best decision we could at the time. But this has been the roughest 13 months of my life. We were married 35 years and I'm grateful for every year - but how I wanted more. I think I'm doing better but then I have a day like today. Our newest grandson was baptized today - His grampa should have been there too - he loved babies. I cried throughout the ceremony - than had to drive 4 1/2 hours home alone and walk into this empty lonely house again. It's easier than it was at first, but still hurts so much. I'm only 56 - I can't imagine living the rest of my life like this.

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