Although I am in a good place now, this certainly hasn’t always been the case. Throughout the last 3 years I have been through so many emotions, and they have mainly been negative. From diagnosis and throughout I have suffered badly with depression and suicidal thoughts, All that I could think about was that I was going to die and leave my children and Andy. The emotions I felt were totally overwhelming. On the one hand I desperately wanted to be around to see my children grow up, but on the other, the pain of thinking that I might not be made me want to end it all!
My depression obviously had a massive impact on Andy and although I tried to hide my negativity and hopelessness from my children, they too picked up on it. I think, as a result, they became very scared. We were a ‘normal’ family one day and the next everything had changed. The shock is the first thing you have to handle, and I admit that the children probably heard conversations they really shouldn’t have. We have always tried to protect them as much as possible and think of their feelings first and foremost, but that hasn’t always been easy, especially because they are home educated and so are always around. Luckily, although our families live three hours away, they came to help and also look after the children so that Andy could be with me when I had my treatment. Friends also rallied round, and for this we are eternally grateful. The depth of support and understanding we have received throughout has been such a great comfort to us all, and without it we would have been lost. Having said this, some people handled the news better than others and I was very hurt at some people’s reactions. Having done a lot of research and spoken to others in a similar situation, this is normal, some people just can’t handle it. Maybe it reminds them of their own mortality or they simply don’t know what to say.
We made sure throughout that the children maintained as ‘normal’ a life as possible, so we continued to take them to their home-ed groups and to see friends and, after the initial shock, had nice days out again. We kept them informed of what was happening, but in a way that wouldn’t scare them. I honestly think this is the best way, as not knowing anything is even more scary.
Moving to Devon has been very beneficial to us, as both Andy and myself felt that we needed to be away from the hustle and bustle of a busy town and a housing estate, and to be in the country. I had always dreamed of living near Dartmoor, but didn’t think it would be possible, but we kind of just ‘happened’ on the house we are in now, so I guess it was meant to be. We all really enjoy walks on the moor and the sense of freedom I get from them is just amazing. The downside of our move is that we are now a two hour drive from our old friends, which can sometimes be very hard, but we try to get to see them as often as possible. We are also slowly making really good new friends which is wonderful. I have learnt that even if you don’t see people for a very long time, they can still give you so much support just by a quick text or a facebook message and I can’t tell you how much this has helped….