When Steve told me he had a brain tumour, my world collapsed. I realised in that moment, no matter what had gone on before, I still loved him and always would.
I found strength I didn’t know I had. I saw past the hurt and anger of separation and divorce and saw only a person that really needed me more than he had ever needed me, and I went to him. I washed him for theatre. I helped him go to the toilet. I held his hand and sat with him for hours and hours. I paced hospital corridors. I watched but did not pay attention to countless TV programmes whilst he underwent hours and hours of emergency brain surgery.
We made peace with everything that had gone before. We both apologised for our part in the breakup of our marriage because we could see that blame was no longer important. We talked about all the happy times we’d had and how grateful we were for our two boys. I will treasure the last few weeks I had with Steve. We didn’t realise they would be the last few weeks of his life.
When I was told Steve had died on the morning of 10 December 2018, I felt sick. I learnt for the first time what real heartbreak feels like. I learnt that it is gut wrenching. When I saw Steve no longer breathing, my world stopped. I wanted to lift him up and hold him. I wanted to shake him awake, this couldn’t be right. This couldn’t be happening. I willed him repeatedly to open his eyes and when I held his hand I didn’t want to let go. I visited Steve in the funeral home every day right up to the morning of his funeral. During these visits I sobbed, I laughed, I talked to him about the boys and I sat with him quietly. I learnt that I needed that time to help me say goodbye. The pain of knowing that there would be a last time I would physically see him was unbearable.
In the early days after Steve’s death I felt as though I had no right to my grief. We were divorced so why should I get to feel sad? But I am sad, in fact I’m furious. There is a gaping hole in my life. I’ve learnt that I’m allowed to cry and be angry and wonder how this has happened to us. I am allowed to miss him and wish every day that he was still here. I learnt that I have the right to every single one of the myriad of emotions I’m feeling. Nobody has the right to tell me otherwise.
About Clare Haynes
Clare’s ex-husband died due to complications following surgery to remove a Grade 4 Medulloblastoma brain tumour. He was admitted to hospital on 14th November 2018 and died suddenly on 10th December 2018. Clare and her ex-husband had two boys together, aged 8 and 12. They were not expecting him to die and only the day before it happened, she had talked to them about bringing Christmas to the hospital for their Dad. Instead, four days before Christmas, they attended his funeral. You can follow Clare on Instagram.