Dear Husband (or Wife or Partner)
Dear Husband, Wife, Partner and Caregiver...
What we want you to know:
We want you to know that we appreciate you being by our side. From the moment we were diagnosed, you became our biggest supporters: our cheerleaders, our problem solvers, our appointment makers, our drivers, our cleaners, our personal shoppers, our shoulders to cry on, our calm in a world now filled with uncertainty.
You wake up with us in the middle of the night when we are upset and crying. You wipe our tears and give us comfort - even though you are exhausted yourself. And when we are sick, it is you who gets the sick bucket, you who gently places the wet flannel on our foreheads. What would we do without you?
"Thank you" doesn't seem like enough
How can we say thank you for keeping us safe, holding us tight and "just being there"? Those words don't seem enough. We want you to know that we think you are more important than us; after all, it falls on your shoulders to comfort us even though you too are going through this awful journey, even though you have enough on your plate, taking care of us as well as working, as well as looking after yourselves and others.
Thank you for holding our hands all the way through treatments, scans, and results, facing everything with us and never letting us go through this alone. Thank you for understanding that when we get moody or snappy that it isn't you we are moody with, it's this situation. Thank you for not putting pressure on us to "be brave" or "be positive" all the time and allowing us to just "be".
We don't know how we would feel in your shoes
Your life will never be the same as it was before our cancer, just as ours isn't. You too carry the burden of it recurring; you feel everything that we feel, perhaps more intensely, as it must be soul destroying watching your loved one fight this awful disease. We don't know if we would be as strong as you are or if we would cope as well as you are if the shoe were on the other foot. We don't know how we would feel.
This has made you face your deepest, darkest fears: Are you going to lose your loved one? How will you cope? What will this journey bring? It must be just as frightening as our journey. Yet all too often you are overlooked, neglected and ignored. All the attention remains on us, yet you ARE essential to us, not only for the big things that you do for us but for the small insignificant things you think we don't realize that you do. It could be when you made us laugh when all we wanted to do was cry, it could be that cup of coffee you made when we sat down and chatted, or the space you give us when we need it.
The small things make our day
You may have no idea how the small things make our day. It's allowing us to push ourselves when we feel we need to and not telling us to sit down, not treating us like we will break.
You need to look after yourselves; you are SO important on this journey. You give us strength and courage to carry on when we feel we can't. You give us "hope," you remind us that life still goes on, you remind us just how much we love and adore you, and how strong you are. I cannot stress this enough. Selfishly, we NEED you on this journey - with you by our sides, we feel we can face anything.
You need time for yourself
You need time for yourself, too. Time to unwind, time to enjoy things not associated with cancer, time look after your needs. So go for that bike ride, go and have a few beers with your friends, unwind, and remind yourself that you are an amazing human being on a really difficult and horrendous journey.
Thank you for all that you have done, all that you are doing and for all that you will do for us.
Love and hugs