When I was 19, I met my first boyfriend at a local café. His striking blue eyes and sense of humour drew me in straight away. Jake and I exchanged numbers and started dating not long after. We were together for a year and a half before tragedy struck.
Days before Christmas of 2013, Jake was diagnosed with brain cancer. He was 24 years old.
For the next three years, Jake threw everything he had at this disease. He underwent two craniotomies, numerous chemotherapies, many radiation sessions, and oncology appointments; but the tumours just wouldn't stop growing back.
Jake was then forced to experience a very brutal and inhumane way of dying. Over the course of a few months, the use of a walking frame was needed, then a wheelchair, then a bed as he faced almost complete paralysation from his neck down.
In late October of 2016, Jake passed away at 27 years old. We were together for just under five years.
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Death anniversaries are difficult, but they’ll never stop coming. At 12:20am this morning, marks two years since Jake passed away. I remember so clearly squeezing his lifeless hand just hours before he left. Promising him that I would continue to live the rest of my life for the both of us and that it was okay for him to go now. Promising him that his suffering and death would never be for nothing. I would do whatever I could to make sure nobody else felt the agonising pain of brain cancer and loss. Despite the absolute hell and pain we both went through, I regret nothing. I was so lucky to know him, be loved by him and be with him until the very end. People often tell me how lucky he was to have me, but in all honestly - I was the lucky one. You will always hold on, but never hold me back.💓
With brain cancer, it's basically like watching someone die twice. First his mind went, along with his personality and character. Followed sometime later by his physical body. I will never have the words to explain how unbearable it is to see someone you love to go through something like that.
Dealing with the grief that followed, while also having vivid flashbacks of his dying experience, is something that you can never prepare yourself for.
I certainly was not prepared for the brain fog and forgetfulness. The inability to concentrate on anything. The memories that were burned into my brain with no off switch. Feeling okay one day then taking five steps back the next.
The insomnia that stole my sleep for the better part of two years. Losing weight because my appetite disappeared. How you start questioning if you are actually losing your mind. Just some of the things that don’t tell you about grief.