My girl(36 Posts)
I never thought that I would ever post in the Bereavement topic, but I really need to share this.
On the 20th August, my darling partner passed away, after a very short and unexpected illness. She was my best friend and the light of my life, and it still hasn't sunk in that she is gone. We became a couple only a little while before she died. We should have done it long ago, but we were scared and slightly confused by the fact that we had fallen in love with each other, as two women.
At the end of July, she started to feel ill - headaches, coughing and low energy. We went to a Western clinic (we live in China) for tests, and they diagnosed pneumonia. They sent us to a state-run hospital, which was awful, and she just got worse and worse - coughing up blood, awful headaches. Eventually, it got so bad that her friend arranged for her to be flown to Hong Kong in a medical plane.
Soon after we arrived in the hospital in HK, she was sedated and put on a ventilator. They still didn't know what had caused the pneumonia, but about a week later, she had a brain haemorrhage, and when they did surgery, they found cancer that had spread from her lung. The lung cancer was a rare form that looked like an abscess on the x-rays, so the doctors hadn't tested it previously.
She came through the brain surgery (they shaved off all her lovely brown hair), but was severely brain damaged. Her brother flew to HK, and we made the decision to cease active treatment and let her go. In the early morning of August 20th, the nurses woke me up and told me that her heart beat was slowing down. She died in my arms about 10 minutes later. I can't get those images out of my head, and I wonder if I will ever be able to.
After that, it was a blur for the next couple of weeks. I had to formally identify her body, choose her coffin, help her brother arrange a funeral, sign her death certificate - things I had never dreamed that I would have to do. Not yet. Not when we had the rest of our lives ahead of us. I just can't believe that she is gone. She was such a vibrant, energetic person - I don't understand why she had to die.
I am going back to China tomorrow to try and resume life, but she was so much a part of it that I am actually panicking about what I will do. We spent nearly all our time together, and when we were apart, we talked and sent messages. I miss her so much.
Thank you for reading this.
Thank you all so much.
TanteRose, that piece you posted was exactly what I needed. I've been back in Shanghai for two weeks now. I've been talking with friends of ours, carrying on the work she did for the academic society we belong to, and remembering the good times. However, I find it very difficult to go home on my own in the evening, so I've been drinking and smoking too much - staying out too late.
It feels as if she is placing all these amazing opportunities in front of me, from wherever she is. Everywhere I go, I meet incredible people and make friends. Only last night, I attended an event she had organised before she died, and so many interesting things happened. I ended up with an invitation to the Biennale, I was asked to contribute to an Australian art blog, and met a famous academic who I've always admired. It's all great stuff, but my mind keeps coming back to the fact that she isn't here with me. I miss her.
I spend too much time reading back over our emails, looking at photos, and thinking about all the things we had planned to do. My mind keeps dwelling on her illness and her final moments.
I guess what I need to do now is start to accept that she's gone. I have to take it day by day, as the idea of the future without her is too difficult to contemplate.
I'm going to start writing another novel, which is something she always encouraged me to do. She had great faith in me, and high hopes, and I need to make sure I fulfil them.
Thanks for reading.
thinking of you CaoNi x
this was on my FB page this morning...
"DEATH is nothing at all. I have only slipped away into the next room. I am I, and you are you. Whatever we were to each other, that we still are. Call me by my old name, speak to me in the easy way which you always used. Put no difference in your tone, wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me , pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was, let it be spoken without effort, without the trace of a shadow on it. Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was; there is unbroken continuity. Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just round the corner. All is well.
Henry Scott Holland
Canon of St Pauls Cathedral"
I also thinking of you and your girl. Your love for each other sounds amazing. And yes, life is completely unfair and bewildering. I lived in Shanghai 17 years ago, and remember the expat scene well. I still have many of those friendships, so my wish is that you will find the support you need.
If you aren't yet prepared to talk to people about her, perhaps you could ask them to write down their favourite memories or share their photos, so you can choose the time when you look at them. People will want to help, but may not know how. Be as open as you can about your feelings, and don't try to be brave because 'that's what expected.' You have lost the most precious person in the world. You haven't lost that wonderful love though - it will shine in your heart forever.
I'm so sorry....you sound like you were a wonderful couple.
May she rest in peace xx
Thinking about you. You must feel so raw right now. After I lost the one I loved, my body felt like a bruise. Someone once told me love never dies, I hope that is true. You seem like an amazing person. How kind you were to share your story with us..xx
Cao - you write so movingly about your loss, your love is apparent.
It doesn't matter how you found each other & what form your love took. The blind-side is often the best side.
The title of your OP says all you need to.
I can't help you any more than that. If only we could.
I wish you strength & joy & love.
& I always err against triteness, but you had her, you knew her, you will remember her.
& yes - be kind to yourself. x
Cao, so very sorry for your loss.
YY, the images of her end will be with you, hopefully they will fade in time - mine of a similar situation are still present two months on.
Be kind to yourself, Cao.xx
So sorry for your loss. Life is so utterly unfair and without explanation at times.
Cao, I am so so sorry to hear of the loss of your beloved partner. Reading your posts has brought tears to my eyes; your grief, your love for her is tangible.
Be prepared for the overwhelming loss to hit you when you least expect it. I was told it's like standing with your back to the sea...the sea is always there, lapping against you, but every so often a big wave will come along and knock you off your feet. And it's very true. Just when I think I am okay, that I'm coping, along that wave comes again.
Organisations for the bereaved can help - like Cruse. I am sure you could get some help from them online if you felt you needed to. Are there any services you could use in China to help you? I always recommend the book Tear Soup. It has really helped me through my own losses.
I hope in time you can take comfort that your partner and you found each other. That you will know that she had found happiness with you - that is so special. I also hope that in time you will be able to take comfort that you were with Your Girl at the end. I am sure she knew you were there and that alone would have been a huge comfort to her. I am getting goosebumps as I type this now.
Be very gentle with yourself and understand that all of this does take time. Life is so fucking cruel and it is unfathomable that Your Girl has been taken from you. I am so sorry.
Cao, I'm so sorry, it must all be starting to sink in now. Those first few months are very raw and painful, please find someone you can talk to in rl. You must feel very loney without your lovely girl and a friend to talk to is really need. Please don't go through this on your own.
After saying that we are here for you on mumsnet.x
Being back in Shanghai is so strange. It's autumn here now; when we left, it was blazing summer. Reality is sinking in now - she's gone. I just don't know what to do with myself. We spent all our time together.
The past seven weeks have been totally surreal. I spent a week in her home country with her family and friends last week before stopping off in Hong Kong again en route back to Shanghai. There were always people to talk to and spend time with, but here in Shanghai, although I have amazing friends, they have their own lives to lead. She was my life - we shared everything, and now she's gone. I can't sleep at night without her, unless I drink or smoke a joint, which is so unhealthy.
It's all so raw. I thought I would be ok, but I guess I had underestimated grief. I've never lost anyone before, and I just don't understand why it had to be her, when we were so happy. She looked for love the whole of her life, and to finally find it, and then die - I don't get it.
I miss her.
Oh Cao I am so sorry for the loss of your girl. You loved her so much, it is plain to anyone reading your words. It is actually really lovely to read a story about someone being so loved, thank you for sharing.
You must feel so shocked and as though things are surreal right now.
There will be people here who have lost adored partners who can offer wise words, from me you have very best wishes and sincere condolences.
CaoNiMa, it sounds as though you have done everything possible to enjoy your time with, and then care for you partner, and I am so sorry for your loss.
When those hundreds of people want to talk about what happened, ask about their good memories of her when you can bear it. You my hear some wonderful stories that give you some laughter. She sounds as though she was one of the people that really brings light to the world.
Thanks again for the messages. I'm at HK airport waiting for my flight. I don't think it had really sunk in - the fact that she's gone - until today. The prospect of going back to Shanghai has brought it into sharp focus. The past seven weeks have been surreal. I've been through every emotion possible - anger, sadness, denial, fear.
My girl was quite an influential person on the "expat scene" in Shanghai, and there are hundreds of people who want to speak to me about what happened. I'm hoping it will all go smoothly.
Despite how horribly unfair it is that she's gone, I do take a lot of comfort from the fact that I was with her when she died. I promised her in Shanghai when she first got sick that I would never leave her, and I kept that promise.
My thoughts with you sweetheart , those last moments being in your arms would have made her feel so loved although awful for you.
I hope the journey back is smooth for you, take care.
So sad, what a beautiful and tragic love story. I hope you have some people around you who also knew her so you can talk about her. Life will be so hard for you for some time, but when you are feeling stronger you will rememeber the good times and put away this terribly sad time. I am so so sorry.
Thinking of you. It sounds as if you enriched each other's lives enormously. How completely unfair that you just had a short time together. I hope you have good friends in Shangahi who will support you.
I think you will find that those memories of the last weeks will fade and you will treasure the good times that you had. Travel safely today.
Do you know what, life is so unbearably fucking cruel sometimes. And it makes no sense. It is very unfair that you were parted. I can tell from your writing that you adored your partner and I'm ever so sorry for you that you must go back to China alone. Is there anyone else there that can support you for a while?
I have recently suffered my own tragedy,(my little girl due to be born in December) and am also in a foriegn country far from the UK and family/friends.
But, actually, I found it easier to work through my feelings alone.
Be strong, hold on. One day when you think of her, you will smile, maybe laugh, and then you will know that you will be alright xxx
My heart goes out to you. I wish I had the right words to express my deep sadness for you. May the love you shared continue to bring comfort to you in the days to come. Please know a stranger from many many miles away will thinking about you.
Thank you for these messages. It really means a lot to me.
I loved her so much. I still love her.
I am preparing to return to Shanghai this afternoon, and I'm really dreading it. I didn't sleep last night. It's going to be such a different city without her.
I am so very sorry to hear of the loss of your girl.
Sometimes life is so bloody awful.
I am sure you must have lots of what ifs in your head.
You have lost your partner and all your plans for your future together.
I hope your memories of the special time you were together is some comfort.
I hope you have some friends/family in China to support you.
Sending you a massive hug.
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