Counting Down

In two years I’ll be forty and what I have I done? Two degrees, one marriage, no children … it doesn’t add up. Five, ten, fifteen years ago I had hope, infinite belief that I’d change and things would be better, and they were until we heard two words.

Brain cancer.

Two words, eleven letters, thirteen months, that’s all it took.

From trillion to billion, they cut it out. A billion cells remain and that’s your best chance.

I could write longer words, temozolomide scored in my mind, synonymous with hope, with failure, and it only seemed to make you sick.


“It might be worse without it.”

How could it be worse? It might have been over sooner. How do you measure worse or better, when your life is full of shit and puke and empty of dignity? Medical economic analysts count it with QALYs.  Who and what could represent each moment gained, each day lost, each week I watched you lessen, until everything shrank to the essence of you with me in that stripped grey room? The stats weren’t good at the start, but five year survival rates must mean someone survives. It must, unless the numbers lie. Why didn’t you survive?

Eleven years of marriage, what does it count for? Was it nine men before you, nine other lives to live? Maybe I’d be a fat mum of four in France, a divorced woman with one son in Canada or Bulgaria or …

What’s the point?

I wouldn’t change those eleven years, I wouldn’t trade those thirteen months, or the last five weeks when we knew they really were the last and the three days I waited, just you and me, and the final second when you took that final breath.

And now I’m nothing. 


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