Chapter 2: News and vows.
So here we are. After mid-day on Jan 6th 2018.
We were all there. Tom’s parents, sister and brother-in-law and the most amazing nurse, along with two doctors and an extra person who hid at the back and said nothing. I was on the left of Tom, the nurse on the right. Family all around.
Doctor: “I am so sorry. There is nothing we can do.”
Tom’s response still haunts me. He had incredible medical knowledge which meant his brain jumped into action to think of anything they could do.
“That can’t be right. I’m 32. What about a huge dose of Rituximab? Steroids to knock it back?! I can’t die.”
Fuck. That was awful. His eyes, they were wide and scared. Darting between every face in the room trying to find the one face that told him we were lying. He never found it.
I held his hand. The nurse held his hand. Everyone held each other. No words could make anything better.
His oxygen was loud, which made it hard for him to hear everything. I found myself being the ‘translator’.
“What they are saying, is they have tried everything they can, Tom. Any treatment would prolong the inevitable and may make you feel worse in the meantime…”
He also couldn’t speak too well, he was exhausted from not eating for over two weeks. His throat was dry and his mouth very painful. I sat close and repeated what he was saying…
“Tom says please…Is there nothing?”
No one could do a thing. Seeing his parent’s faces, hearing his sister crying. He had been their life for so long. They saw him conquer so much, for it all to be reduced to this moment.
Tom: “So how long do i have?”
Doctor: “A couple of days…”
The world spun so fast from then on, but at the same time, it felt as if it barely moved.
We all discussed his wishes and plans with him. Songs and outfit choices. Listened to his insistence about NO BEIGE BUFFET at the wake. He picked pall bearers and we made calls and sent texts for people to visit that evening.
We also decided to get married! It went something like this…
Me: “You would do anything to get out of marrying me!” (He laughed, obvs)
Tom: “It’s too late now isn’t it?!”
Me: “We could see if the nurse could pull some strings?”
Nurse: “I could probably sort it out…I can’t promise anything but i can try!”
Tom: “You better start planning then!”
And they say romance is dead!!
5 hours later, the registrar was there. He pre-warned me over the phone that he was ‘a little overdressed’, so when a man walked in with the shiniest shoes, a waistcoat and a dickie bow walked in, i knew it was him!
I had got my Dad to send me photos of my marriage certificate to Jason, along with his death certificate as proof of my availability for marriage, with the agreement i would present the originals in the following days. The doctors wrote their letter as confirmation that he was going to die and for him to marry, the 28 day notice would need to be waived. They confirmed he was of sound mind and wanted to marry me. All good!
The Registrar General was called and the notice period was waived, we got the go ahead!
Tom’s parents, two of his friends, the wonderful nurse, a doctor, the registrar and the guy who writes the register entry all donned their white plastic aprons. Tom joked that the apron matched the dickie bow….
Tom was the only one in a white gown, which was a fun gender stereotype swap!
We didn’t have time for rings, but i was wearing a bracelet that Tom had bought me, which says ‘Love you to the moon and back’, so he said that could be my wedding bracelet.
Vows were said. Despite being very out of breath, he said every word. We both cried when we were pronounced Husband and Wife.
Tom: “It shouldn’t be like this!”
It shouldn’t, but it was better than nothing.
Knowing he was my Husband was all i needed. He was my person. I was his Wife.
Eventually, everyone left.
I climbed up onto his bed and we had our last proper cuddle whilst listening to ‘Our Song’, Elbow – Magnificent.
He only called me ‘Wife’ from then on. Not that he spoke a great deal after that…
This photo is of our wedding.