Updated: Jul 7
How meaning and connection helped my late husband and I when life threw us completely off course.
I lost my husband to cancer. I was 38 when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
He was a general manager, travelling through Asia Pacific, with a rewarding career and a happy home life.
One afternoon, the long life we’d dreamed of having with our beautiful kids evaporated. We plunged into disbelief and numbing shock.
Over the next few years, we journeyed together, making changes, preparing ourselves.
The greatest gift were those precious times we shared. Yet our kids were so young. How were they to remember him?
‘He who has a why can bear almost anyhow’ – Friedrich Nietzsche
My husband connected deeply with his why, us his beloved family, and wrote his life story so that our children would know their dad in his own words.
That was his focus, it anchored him in meaning through endless chemotherapy.
‘Today I kissed you all goodbye and headed off on a trip to Thailand. You and your mum are off to Maleny this afternoon and I am going to join you next week. Because my trip will give me lots of time to write, I’ve finally bought this book and began to put down my thoughts for you to read if you are feeling sad or you just miss me. I want to tell you stories about myself and Mum and remind you of the great times we had together. I want to tell you all the things that I wanted to tell you as you get older, but I won’t have the chance to say. Most of all I want you to know that you had a Dad who loved you deeply. As I started to write these thoughts Lachie is 8, Bella is 6 and Jess is almost 4. You are Mummy and my little treasures and we talk every day about how lucky we have been as parents. I will eventually write to you about my illness. For now I want to start by telling who your Dad is. So let’s start….’
Years later my 3 read their father’s life story.
His legacy living on. How powerful a force that is!
It made such a difference and had a profound impact on helping them connect with and know that wonderful man, my husband, their father.
And having meaning in life helped me through the uncertainty that lay ahead.
In the days before he died, he held my hand and said, ‘just keep on smiling, you’ll be OK’ and I was after a while when I connected with my why, with what mattered most to me.
I asked the question:
How can I be the best possible role model and make a difference, not only in my life, but in the lives of my children, standing beside me?
It started with a vision and rippled out from there.
Sometimes you can get caught up in the ‘daily grind’ and not take the time to stop and reflect on what matters most to you.
That inspiration deep inside that drives you forward through the ups and downs of life, the uncertainty, the challenges.
When you tap into that it helps you transform no matter what life throws at you.
Because you can transform your relationship with uncertainty and move through it, not avoid it and come out the other side.
You're reassured and have rediscovered that elusive missing piece and found an abundance of possibilities.
And when you find yourself at a stage in life asking the question...is this all there is???...you can finally answer with a resounding ‘no! There’s so much more.’