Memories – oh we made quite a few of those – good and bad!
Almost 2 years ago, I changed my cover photo on Facebook to a quote which says “I wish I could turn back the clock. I’d find you sooner and love you longer”. How very true that is. We only had just under 6 years together but we so made them count where we could. I truly wish we had met years ago because we should have had so many more amazing memories to make.
On paper, our relationship should never have worked. We had distance, kids, work, commuting, ex partners and troubled foster children to deal with and that was BEFORE “the lump”. However, in reality we were perfect for each other and we were determined to make it together no matter what and make the best memories ever despite the problems!
It wasn’t the easiest start. We had 3 years of only being together 3 nights a week whilst my children were at their dad’s and I commuted 130 miles a day to work and back. For the last 2 of those 3 years we had utter turmoil with one of Dave’s fosterlings and it took both of us supporting each other to get through it. We had also discovered “the lump” during that time which was being investigated. During the last 3 months the fosterling was with us, the diagnosis came that the lump was cancer.
We had been told that we should enjoy the next 12 months and live life to the full. Dave was starting a trial treatment in January for 3 months but we didn’t know whether it would work or not so we should just “make memories”. We had several very large vodkas whilst we tried to digest what we had been told and then drew up a bucket list. Bittersweet times.
We got married 3 weeks later, in our jeans, with our closest friends and family around and it was truly an amazing day.
We still had our 3 night a week relationship for another 4 months (we just pretended I worked away for half the week) whilst Dave had his treatment. Treatment finished and Dave moved with his youngest fosterling to my home town so we could all be together – at last!! Now we could really get to that bucket list.
Being together as a proper family just strengthened our already solid relationship and we did EVERYTHING together. We went to Venice (Bucket list #2) and visited and prayed in 5 churches that Dave researched. It was the most wonderful place we had ever been and we used it as our delayed honeymoon. When we got back Dave was told the treatment was working and he was in remission!! Woooohooooo time to celebrate! Good memory.
Next were matching tattoos (Bucket list #3) – we both loved Lord of the Rings and so designed tattoos using a combo of our names and had them made in “Elvish” text. Ouch ouch and ouch – never again – we were both cringing whilst having them done – but it was funny watching each other flinching and trying not to let the other see.
In August, we had a family holiday to Majorca – the remaining fosterling had never been abroad and so it was exciting for all of us – Dave hated flying but as ever, he would do anything for anyone and so braved the flight – great times. (Still in remission!)
In December, we had our very first “proper” Christmas together and had my family round and it was fabulous – he always loved a house full and believe me it was full.
I have a mad Irish family and go over 2 or 3 times a year at least to see them. Dave had never been to Ireland and always wanted to so I booked a 3 night trip and off we went on an adventure. We visited 6 locations along the North West coast of Ireland which were used in Game of Thrones, one of Dave’s most favourite programs. It was magical, amazing and he was like a little kid – he thought Ireland was one of the most beautiful places on earth. That was Bucket list #4.
Then “lumps”. The cancer was back. We had 10 months of remission and then it was back. He started another trial but this never really worked how it should have done and we just really “limped” along with lumps disappearing but then others appearing in different places and they never really cleared up. I had a map of his body where I recorded where they were coming and going. Those are awful memories where the despair and hope could come and go in waves as I found one would have shrunk but then discovered another new one somewhere else.
My brave Dave said it was time to make a new good memory so we went to London to watch a west end show – he took me to see Thriller as years ago I had tickets to see Michael Jackson but as we all know, he passed away before the concert – this was Dave’s way of giving me the “next best thing”. That was our Bucket list #5.
Dave’s treatment was continuing but we weren’t confident that things were as they should be and over Christmas last year we were told it had spread to his brain and treatment changed again. More bad memories.
On 11 February this year, I arranged a VIP day out to Anfield for him to watch his beloved Liverpool, he met his hero John Aldridge and I got hold of a football shirt signed by the whole team. What an amazing day it was but I noticed during that day he was struggling with his eyes He never told me, I just saw him covering one eye now and then and straining to see. The following morning, I had him at the hospital as his vision had massively deteriorated. Over the next 6 weeks, his vision and his health deteriorated so quickly that they are memories I would rather not think about – at least not at the moment as they are very bad.
I try to focus on all the buckets list things we did over the last 2 years we had together as we did so much, laughed a lot and grew so so close making the best memories ever. I smile when I think how extra amazing they would have been without the dark shadow of those bad memories hanging over them. I do wish I could have found him sooner.