To my husband on Father’s Day…

Cancer took a lot from you, but it didn’t take everything. Not once did you lose your courage, your sense of humour, your dignity, your empathy or your ability to love with every ounce of your soul.

But the fact that, despite two major operations and around 23 months of chemotherapy, it didn’t take your opportunity to become a Father is quite possibly a miracle and something I will remain grateful for everyday. To know that your final and most difficult years were also the happiest, because of us and the little girl that we created, means more to me than I can ever put into words and is something that brings me a huge amount of comfort.

As Father’s Day approaches; our second without you, the sense of injustice I feel every time I tell your story feels bigger than ever. Having Esmée completed you.

My heart hurts for you, to know that you were only given 13 months with her; every one of those months haunted by cancer, the fear it instilled and the physical pain it caused you as well as the the knowledge deep down that you probably wouldn’t be around to watch her grow up.

My heart hurts for her, to know what she is missing out on. She will have a full and happy life, I promise you that, but we will always wish you were here to enjoy it.

Don’t get me wrong – I count my lucky stars every day that you were in her life at all. I spent countless nights throughout my pregnancy, watching you as you slept peacefully, in complete horror at the thought you that might not be here to see your child born and get to know the baby you were so excited for. I couldn’t comprehend that somebody who looked so well to the outside world could potentially be a dying man. We didn’t know that at the time but the fear was enough to keep me awake at night.

It brought me overwhelming happiness to watch you interacting with Esmée and loving her the way you did from the moment you met. Your relationship was, and still is the most beautiful relationship I have ever witnessed. You used to ask me why I took so many photos of you together; thousands and thousands of them over the months. I told you it was because you two were my world and it made me happy. That remains true, of course. I just hope you never realised that it was also because I was scared each photo might be the last.

I hope you know that the heartbreak has been worth it for everything you gave us and did for us. I’d do it all a million times over to have you as my husband and the Father of our daughter. I would re-write the ending if I could, but I wouldn’t change a thing about us and I would always choose to be in the story even if I’d have known the ending all along.

This Father’s Day, we will look at photos of you, watch the videos you never knew I took and talk about you – not because it is Father’s Day; but because these are things we do regularly, in love, not in sadness – simply because you are ours.

Missing you always,

Your girls xx

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