Just this week, a very dear friend of mine lost her husband to cancer, and just like John, his condition was diagnosed as terminal at the very first consultation. However, my friend and her husband had very little time to acclimatise to the enormity of the situation. He was only "given" a couple of months, unlike John, who was given 3 years... but sadly, once again the medical bods were pretty spot on.
Over the last 2 months, my friend and I have shared wine and coffees, many of both, talking deeply about symptoms, treatments, feelings, fear, joy, anger and love. It has been a hellish time for my friend and a very mixed time for me. It has brought a lot of my feelings and fears to the surface once again, and has brought back many memories, some hilarious, but more painful..... One night I went to bed so confused, (was it the wine, I hear you ask?!.... ) that I dreamt that my friend was talking about my husband instead of her own, but wasn't letting me see him.
Oddly, my overriding feeling, apart from that of deep sadness for her loss, is one of richness and sharing. I can honestly say I never really imagined myself a widow, nor did I ever think I would become knowledgeable about certain cancer treatments, but I am grateful for the gifts of an empathetic ear, a certain level of understanding and a large box of tissues which I was able to share with her... We never know when our paths will take us on very tough routes and then bring us right back again, but if we can share these things, unasked for as they might be, then the sharp angles soften a bit.