The other day I got a message from someone saying that I looked like I was doing well. This message really made me stop and think and that’s why I decided to write this post.
When Justin was first diagnosed with cancer I had no idea the world we were about to enter. Cancer has its own community, language and terminology. We had no clue.
In a world of cancer we lived in constant worry and anxiety. I always had a black cloud hovering over me, no matter what I did or where I went. There were moments of joy where I would forget the dark cloud, but it never truly left.
We had to change everything about our life because of cancer. We had to rewire our brains to learn how to live in this new world. When we went to church every Sunday we were thinking about where we would sit so we wouldn’t get sick. When we went grocery shopping we were thinking about what foods would help fight cancer and foods that would be harmful. When I cleaned our home I had to avoid scents that would cause Justin to throw up. When we traveled we had to work around chemo treatments. I lived like this for five years and after awhile I forgot what normal life was like. We got so used to it, we made it our new normal.
I can’t imagine anything worse than having to watch someone you love go through cancer. There were times when I would sit and cry listening to Justin throw up in the other room. I always felt so helpless and wished I could just take the pain away. He tried so hard to hide his pain, but I knew he was miserable.
He went through all of that pain and misery because he loved me. How could I not believe at times it was my fault he was in so much pain. Cancer is cruel because it not only physically hurts the ones you love, but it makes you think it’s your fault. It was my fault he was in pain because I wanted him to be here with me, I wanted him to live.
I had spent five long years living in this world. Our family and close friends were there at times along the way, but I was the one with him every second of every day. I saw all the pain and all the hurt. The anxiety never left and I was never free from the dark cloud.
At the end we were both so tired and it was truly hard finding the strength to keep fighting. A couple days after Justin had passed away I heard a noise in the other room that sounded like Justin throwing up. Without even thinking twice I got up quickly to grab a bucket and run it over towards the noise. My body had been in that world for so long it reacted without my brain being aware of the reality of the situation.
I had a lot of emotions when Justin passed away and one of them was relief. I felt relief because he was no longer in pain. I didn’t have to watch him suffer anymore and I knew he was finally at peace.
I wanted to write this post because I feel like it’s important for people to know that part of me is doing well and part of me is still struggling. I miss Justin more than anything, but I don’t miss living in the world of cancer. I am doing well in the fact that I’m not consumed with anxiety and fear anymore. I’m doing well because cancer is no longer controlling my life. That was a heavy burden and I carried it for a long time.
Knowing that Justin isn’t suffering anymore brings so much peace. I constantly remind myself that on the hard days when I miss him terribly. He is no longer in pain and cancer is no longer apart of my life. I am relieved it is gone and I feel free again.
You can read more about my story here