I just wanted to say hello and write to you all about how I have been these past three and a half months.
Before I tell you how I have been, though, I would like to say that I feel very priviliged to be still part of this community of brave men fighting this disease and their devoted caregivers. As you know, I have accompanied Paul on every step of his journey and not only taken part in all consultations with doctors but also done my own extensive reading and research into this type of cancer. And my hope is that from time to time I can share something that will be of help to some.
So, how have I been keeping?
Well, I miss Paul every single minute of every single day. What I miss most is our companionship; this sharing of our lives.
What I have learned is that grief is not at all a linear thing; meaning that when I feel something today and think that it has moved through me now and that I can move on from it it doesn't mean that it won't return a week or two later and hit me again as hard as the first time. For example, I had this experience with the questions if I could have done something more for Paul; after having gone through this in my head for a couple of days and deciding that, no, I did the best I could for him, I decided to let that go, only to discover a couple of days later that I was again caught in the same kind of thought process. So grief really comes in waves and it is not linear and only follows its own knowing.
Sometimes I have days when I replay the last weeks and particularly hours in the hospital over and over in my mind. I have come to believe that this is part of the process of coming to terms with it as well as trauma work; it is the attempt of my system to come to terms with a new and very painful reality. Sometimes I think I could have done something more or could have handled things differently; but I ultimately know that I, like Paul, did the best I could under the circumstances.
Sometimes I feel his presence very strongly as if he was here with me, sometimes I can't feel him at all. And all this happens day after day of my life now.
I have been seeing a counsellor in the cancer hospital for seven or eight appointments. The last time I was there the counsellor told me that she would like this counselling to come to an end soon, not because she didn't enjoy working with me, but because she felt that the end of this counselling process in itself would be an important part of my process of moving on with life. I kind of know what she means and we have agreed our last session is going to be on 20 September. I am kind of dreading it because it feels like then another thing will come to an end. But I feel it is right somehow at the same time.
Talking about the cancer hospital, I have been trying to bring Reiki into the hospital for a few weeks now. And I have no intention of giving up. I would like to offer Reiki treatments to patients on one or two afternoons a week on a voluntary basis. When I mentioned this first to the palliative care doctor her response was that she felt it was too early in my grieving process, something which left me feeling annoyed because I am not early in my grieving process, I have been grieving for Paul and a future we wouldn't have for at least a year. So I then went to the chaplin of the hospital who told me that he couldn't do anything without the Director of Nursing agreeing to it. So I am waiting to hear back from him or to hear from the Director of Nursing. But I don't expect them to say anything else than the palliative care doctor. I have read a lot on palliative and hospice care recently and I have already written a letter to the Director of Nursing in which, among other things, I state that, in a hospital that wants to have a patient-centered approach, complementary treatments such as Reiki could be important, not because they can cure, but because they can help the overall well-being of the patient which in turn helps with a more positive response to treatments. "If palliative care aims to increase the patient's physical, emotional, mental and even spiritual well-being, then Reiki would be an ideal complementary treatment to offer along with the medical treatments." Or something like that. I will send this letter if I don't hear from the hospital soon. I am so determined to do this. I have also created a Linkedin profile and have connected with people working for the Irish Cancer Society and the Hospice Foundation and the like to have a better knowledge of what supports are out there that I could draw on to help with this. I think it would be so so good.
I have been fairly busy in work as well. After a quiet summer clients have started to come back more regularly now which is good and helps me through my days.
Socialising is sometimes difficult. I am finding it hard at times to concentrate for long periods of time on conversations that don't include Paul or don't have our situation in their focus. But I am making a real effort to go out and meet up with people. One of them is Margaret, a former client of mine who has become a really good friend, and the other one is Anne, one of Paul's former work colleagues and friends with whom I get on really well. Our niece Jacqui found that our contact was getting too lose and withdrew from me quite a bit in July, something which I am still finding very hurtful. It is difficult for me that I don't have many people to turn to here in Dublin, but I am getting used to that too.
Weekends are the worst. Especially Sundays. I try to make sure that I am doing something on those days or that my meetings with Margaret and Anne take place on those days.
Next week my dad is coming over for a visit. I am looking forward to that. He will be here on his birthday and I have booked tickets for the River Dance show for us. I can't see myself enjoying a night out yet, but I know that I will when the time comes and that the main reason will be that I know that Paul would love me to do that and that I love to make my dad happy. At the end of September my friend Katharina from Germany will be with me for a week. And I might visit my brother in Kuala Lumpur in October. So I have plans and things to look forward to.
That's all I can think of for now.
Love and hugs to everyone here.