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THIS IS MY FIRST attempt in potentially helping someone using my own experiences and thoughts. I don’t pretend to be an expert on anything at all, nor am I a trained councillor. Maybe one person will read this and think I am nuts, another may read it and take the advice on-board, which in turn will help them. Who knows..maybe time will tell. LIFE HAS TO CONTINUE…. Helen and I were together for seven years and

for half of that time we lived with a huge black cancer cloud above our heads. But, we had a great life together. This may sound mad but our lives were filled with fun and laughter, all the way through our journey and all the way to the end. THE MAIN REASON FOR THIS IS QUITE SIMPLY…. WHY THE HELL NOT? We figured that we had enough sadness in

our lives with the cancer itself, which in some respects was out of our control, so why let it control the things we could be in charge of? Life is quite simply for living, so why live it with worry and sadness? You may as well live it with a smile on your face and laughter. Now I appreciate there are some people in

this world who have/had it harder than we ever did, so I guess it may not be so easy to master this way of life. Life is so very hard sometimes, and boy do I know it, but I do think people themselves can make situations even worse, if they allow it. Helen and I could’ve easily let the breast cancer cloud rule our lives and bring us into sadness and turmoil. The truth is it didn’t. Obviously we had some very sad and tough moments, but I can honestly say that pretty quickly afterwards there would be a smile and a laugh. We worked hard to find the positives in the situations and held on to that. We realised that life in itself is a blessing so we grasped at what bit of life we could and lived it. So with this in mind it was important for

me to fight hard with my own feelings and emotions to continue this way of life, for my own sake and for my children. I realise that even though my wife has lost her life, which is so terribly sad, that the children and I are entitled to continue our lives with laughter and happiness. It wasn’t anyone’s fault that Helen was unlucky enough to get cancer, plus I know we did all we could to keep her with us. Helen herself fought hard to remain alive and happy and I know she would never want us to let any sadness continue as we all move forward. She wanted us to be happy and not let the sadness of our circumstances continue in our lives. So, what’s the lesson here for me? No matter what has happened to me and my family our

20 Farewell Magazine

lives are still continuing; so why live them with sadness? Never forget - but move forward with a smile on your face and enjoy it!

Telling the Kids Their Mum has Died

I HAVE HAD SOME very difficult times in my life recently and I don’t need to list them here. However, telling the kids about what had happened is certainly up there as one of the most awful, and quite frankly horrific, moments of my life. However, there was one key moment prior to

this that had made it much easier. Is that even possible you must be thinking? It was a moment initiated by one amazingly

strong woman who loved her kids with every ounce of her being and with all her mite. Helen. At the time we didn’t even realise how pivotal and important that moment was to the kids and their future. It was the time that Helen and I sat the kids down and explained what was happening and the clear possibility that mummy could one day die and they would never see her again. I know how difficult that was for me, let alone being in Helen’s shoes. Such a very brave woman. As a parent you want to protect your children

from anything horrible, and maintain their innocence as for as long as possible, before they realise the cruel reality of this world. I personally felt very strongly about not letting the kids in on our circumstance and protecting them as much as possible. But there came a time when we realised that no matter how much positivity you have, or hope for another day, our cancer ridden world may not have a happy ending. So, we both began looking at child bereavement websites which explained how to deal with bereavement in children at different ages. Winston’s Wish was a great source for us. Just

their website was enough for us to know where we should be heading. This research totally turned my thinking

around and instead of protecting the kids we started involving them. It’s important to get the level of involvement right for the age range. Obviously kids at certain ages have totally different concepts of reality, but thanks to the right information we got the balance right. So, we sat them down and told them that

mummy was really quite poorly and that she was having treatment that may or may not work. We were open about it and let them know the

name of what she had so they had something to reference – cancer. Such a horrible word. This conversation happened about three weeks before Helen passed away. Obviously, with the kids being so young they

didn’t fully understand the concept of mummy not ever being there for them. Not being able to cuddle them or kiss them was not something they understood. However, the reason why this was so pivotal and important was that we planted a little seed in their heads. That seed grew a few roots in their brains in those three weeks and although it was unimaginably difficult to tell the children that mummy was gone forever, those roots had paved the way for them to start to deal with and accept it. It was almost like it wasn’t such a surprise to them when they heard it, although still they didn’t truly understand. I was sobbing when I told them, but even though Olivia’s little face showed true sadness, she just reached out her hand to my face and rubbed it saying “it will be OK Daddy”. It felt like it was Helen’s hand as this is what she would have done. Marley on the other hand was just dancing on the sofa making faces at me and asking why I was crying, in a stupid voice which made Olivia and I laugh. But that was the family we were, one minute we would cry and the next we would be laughing even in times of utter desperation. So for anyone reading this blog who has children and is maybe facing similar circumstances, I urge you to seek advice from the child bereavement charities because it will help your children - one of the most important things a parent can do. Nearly five months after that brave lady left

this world, I have been sure to encourage us to always speak openly about mummy, whenever the children or I wanted too. Whether that is in a sad way or happy way we always talk. Today the children will often talk about

mummy in a positive and happy way. Both children love to draw and will always say they are doing the drawing for mummy. And when they say it…. it’s ok. For them it’s ok, even though mummy will never see it. It’s just ok…

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