Richard, NSW – Over 10 years ago I lost the love of my life

January 30th, 2014

Over 10 years ago I lost the love of my life, my beautiful partner, the most wonderful person inside and out and who made me the most happiest man in the world during our three years together. Never ever did I and we imagine and foresee what lay ahead as we enjoyed life and each other’s company.

We were totally in love and besotted with each other. Friends and family on both sides embraced and shared that happiness with us. When Sue (not her real name) was first diagnosed with breast cancer we assumed on the advice given at the time that recovery was possible given the appropriate treatment and necessary remedial steps. Unfortunately as time progressed her condition deteriorated rapidly.

I was totally lost and had no idea how to respond to the situation, and elements of frustration, fear, anger amongst others began setting in, shared tears flowed continuously, and I kept praying as I’ve never before so much in my life. I was shattered, couldn’t eat regularly and started drinking above the norm. It was as if I was on the receiving end and I was the one contracted to a possible life expiry. I was furious.

Yet through it, all she maintained her composure and kept her head high, assuring me that it was going to be okay, not to worry too much etc. I was so proud of her but at the same time envious but angry that I couldn’t uphold the same composure. For me there was nowhere to turn. I didn’t want to seek refuge with or assistance from others.

I buried my head and mind in isolation feeling utterly helpless. When Sue died a month before her 40th birthday it was as if my life had also ended. I blamed everyone else, the doctors for not doing enough, friends who I thought never cared enough and all involved. My resentment and self-pity flowed relentlessly.

I was a total wreck for over a year as I recall, and even to this day I have never gotten over it, I know I never will and yet I feel okay with that. The memories of our time together I will always cherish, that will never subside. After two years, I reconciled with her family and friends and to this day have maintained those important connections that have helped everyone considerably with the healing process.

A year later I lost my beloved younger sister to the disease and again went through trauma, and again, though not to as great a degree as it was with Sue, a few of the elements resurfaced, I was still shattered.

In 2004 and 2005 also I lost two very close friends to breast cancer I watched as their families and partners grieved, some of the reactions etc. I went through with Sue and little sis were evident so I clearly understood the enormity of their loss.

In 2006 after some deliberation with self, I decided that I wanted to do something in honour of those loved ones I had lost, to dedicate whatever spare time I had to helping out in whatever capacity and in any way that I could. So I called up the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) office in Sydney and spoke at length with the volunteer co-ordinator at the time.

Having been satisfied through that liaison with the organisation and its objectives and with their calling for more volunteers, I made the decision to join, knowing my contribution would give me the incentive of attaining achievements and gaining satisfactory rewards for and in honour of those I had lost.

I felt great about it, confident and happy that I was about to embark on a new venture that would also help me recover from whatever remnants there were that still lingered continuously as a result of past trauma associated with those losses.

My only worry, albeit temporarily, was having to don a pink shirt for the first time which of course was a main requirement of the dress code for volunteer assignments. There was quite a degree of trepidation on my part, the macho element if you like kicking in.

My first volunteer gig was collecting donations at Central Station and I have to admit it felt a bit uncomfortable having a pink shirt on “what if a mate sees me?” type thoughts creeping in.

Funny now looking back…I got over it by the third or fourth gig. My time with the foundation has been great, totally enjoyable and I have met wonderful caring people who are totally dedicated, and the publics’ response to the appeals and fundraisers has been amazing which in turn has given me incentive to continue with my given roles indefinitely whenever I can.

Meeting Sarah Murdoch, a lovely down to earth lady, and other ambassadors has been a highlight. Thank you NBCF, for helping me through a healing process which has become more manageable for me as a result and given me so much joy in knowing that those affected now have more chance of elimination, recovery and avoidance, more technology, research and awareness than ever before.

To my beloved Sue, my little sis Angela (real name), Sasha and Anessa (real names) and all others, now shining stars within the universe of our creator…….this is for you all.