Of Memory and Shadow

For two days this post has haunted my thoughts. How to say all I want to say, how to begin. How to bring light to thoughts which dance in the shadows. No answers have come to me; I just made a decision to start writing.

The memories of late have once again brought a sharp pain which cuts deep within. Just the other night, as I sat on the verandah watching the lightning dance across the sky, all I could think of was Judy. Oh how she used to love watching the storms as they raged around, the lightning reflecting the wonder in her eyes every time it struck. It was a magical thing to share. She would always call us outside to watch with her when the heavens put on a show. It was then that it hit me. It hit me just as hard as it did 5 months ago. My wife is gone. It was like a sledgehammer to the heart all over again. My wife is gone. Never again will we share such moments, never again will we hear the sound of her voice calling to us in wonder. Never again will I see the softness of her smile but in pictures and memories. My wife is gone, and heavy is my heart and the burden I carry today.

To other thoughts this inevitably led, and I found myself drinking deeply from the well of regret. I found myself looking back over the past 12 months of her life and wondering why we always seemed to be too busy to be out living life for all it’s worth,not just merely continuing to exist day in and day out. I often think, if only I had known just how sick she was I would have made sure we did exactly that, and then I hate myself for having the thought. It should NOT take the presence of a terminal illness to make one get up and take life for all they can. Yet it seems that is the way it is in the world which we live. We go to work work, the house has to be cleaned, the lawn done, the mortgage paid, the bills, the shopping and a thousand other errands. What society calls necessity seems to replace what should be priority, and we all lose focus on what really matters, life itself.

This line of thought eventually led me to her last few weeks. God, how fast did that time disappear. I look back now and can see so many lost moments that slipped away, moments I can never reclaim. I never believed that when she went in to hospital, she would not be coming home again. I always thought her spunk and determination would overcome pretty much anything. I expected she would bounce back after some intense chemo and be home in a few weeks. The first few days cleared that pipe dream out of my head pretty damn quick. I need a break….

It seemed I had been living in denial, or perhaps it was just outright fear. I just could not imagine life without her, not in any shape or form. The thought of losing her terrified me to the core so I ran as fast and as far from it as I could. But now I had nowhere left to hide. My fear had me cornered and I had to face it. Then came the day the doctors took away all hope and I felt my world begin to collapse from within. Had it not been for family and the support of close friends I don’t believe I would have made it through it at all. The worst moment was having to tell Michael and Daniel that their mother would not get any better; that she was going to die. Michael understood before the words were out and I have never seen such a look of intense anguish in a child’s eyes before as he leaped into my arms, his eyes full of tears. I can still see his face as if it were yesterday. My heart wailed in agony for them both, just as it did for me.

So now I have to live with all the lost opportunities in that last week. It seemed we talked too much of incidental things and not enough of things of substance, though my memory of that time is not totally clear. So many friends came to see her, some from a great distance. One thing she knew before she passed is that she was loved.

That is enough for today. It is late and writing this has taken it’s toll on me. When I started writing I did not expect it to take me to where it did. To all of you I say this. Time is the most precious gift you are given in life. Cherish those you love as if you will lose them tomorrow; for the truth is tomorrow is never guaranteed.



Note: The photo is from Daniel’s 10th Birthday on July 10, 2015, exactly 3 weeks before Judy passed. She could still smile with such beauty.


  1. Connie

    She was happy, very content and she knew what was going to happen. In her eyes you guys did all the things that were important to her. She said there was magic in the mundane. She always knew.
    Thoughts of those final days still tear at my heart. And the memories of her will always sit in the piece of my heart that broke that morning.
    I am so proud of you and the boys xox

  2. Peter

    Wise words my friend. It’s good to see you working through this with the words from your heart. Indeed Judy was loved, please bear in mind that Michael, Daniel and yourself are as well. I miss my friend, and I miss her for you all as well. We can always spend too much time thinking of what can and would have been, it’s the natural method of our minds to see in hindsight.

    I am thankfull for the time that I knew Jude, and the good memories I will always have because of her. A great friend and one of the best humans I have ever known.

    And on this day, her birthday, I want you to know that my thoughts are with you all.

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