Losing Kath

Love lost, read and found

A view from a hospital window

Here is a piece I wrote to help raise awareness of why we feel the need to help raise funds for The Royal Marsden Hospital who treated Katherine throughout her illness. Please click here if you would like to donate to the Charity or sponsor our team walk. Thank you for any support you give us.

The Marsden March

 No one should have to die just months after being told they are ill! No one!

But that’s the cruel irony of ‘life’; people do! At 42, my wife Katherine was one of those cheated of the fullness of life.

The Royal Marsden is a haven for people like her. Many who visit or come to stay at the place will very sadly soon face the same fate, and die. Despite their own determination, the efforts of others around them and the hopes of loved ones, family and friends, Cancer will snatch them away just the same. At that point, bargain prayers to a God of hope fall silent and only the living feel slain by the following devastation. To us, the hospital becomes a tower where our loved ones were once imprisoned by fate that robbed us in broad daylight.

But despite the poor odds many continue to flock to the hospital in the hope that they will be one of the lucky ones to escape with their lives. Not everyone faces such a grim ending of course and that’s why they all come. The hospital is your last hope when all other is taken. You put your life in their hands and hope that they can find a way to restore you to your life and your family.

Leaving Katherine at the end of each day in hospital was the most heart wrenching, even soul destroying thing I ever had to do and I had to do it too many times. But our 3 young daughters at home needed at least one of us to come home for them too. Like me, all they could do was put their trust in the hospital to do all they could do to get mummy better and send her home too. We said our hated goodnights to mummy one night in the ward, on this particular day she was poorly and could not move or walk well and with a sunken heart we walked back through the corridors out to the car in the car park. I started to drive out of the grounds of the hospital and was about to turn into Down’s road when an ache in my heart made me stop the car and look back. I scanned the many windows of the hospital and then in that instant Katherine appeared at one of them and was waving and in the exhilaration of the moment we all got out and waved backed and could not stop. It was a very ‘very’ precious moment.

I drove home that night with the usual tears flowing down my face thinking of what she might have been thinking in that moment.

It must have been so hard for Katherine knowing how devastated I would be if she died, but despite that being powerless to do anything about it. She would have wanted to reach out and hold me, to hug me not bearing to see me so crushed, knowing I would not find or let anyone help me. Not only did she have to face the fact she was dying, but she had to do it with a heavy heart knowing, she would not be able to be there through the part in my life I would need her the most. In knowing me inside out, she would have known well in her heart, there would not be anyone in fact, who could help me. With the certainty of how crushed I would be, she must have feared even more for her daughters, that they would lose their mother and not have a father strong enough to cope. What was going through her mind as she stood there at the window waving goodbye? She must have known that her illness would have more casualties than just her own death. Was this also the moment she realised vital components of our happy family were dying too?

At the hospital they do amazing things for many people suffering with Cancer. Some get cured completely and others live very full lives. Some unfortunately aren’t so lucky but are given the same shot just the same, and more and more people are being helped to beat their illness. This is the reason why we were there; we wanted every chance to be one of the lucky ones to be cured.

Sometimes in life in a given moment you wake up and find yourself somewhere or in a situation and you don’t know exactly how you got there or what you are doing anymore and all you can do is to put one foot in front of the other. For seven cruel months that’s all Katherine could do, and for many months after, it was all I knew how to do. I woke up in a haze one morning, four months after her death and not knowing how I got there, in a team of family and friends, I found myself putting one foot in front of the other and marching on the tower to help raise funds for the hospital in Kath’s memory.

Katherine’s Marchers are no different to any other team or individual marching the Marsden March. We all want the same thing. We want no one to see their loved ones taken by a disease robbing them of the fullness of life. We all have to die sometime, but we all deserve the chance to live too. That is what we march for, so that the hospital can continue making the huge strides towards beating this horrible disease and freeing the unfortunate ones that get trapped in its towers.

The walk last year was a blur. But it was an amazing eye opener on how many people are affected by Cancer in life. We think we are all alone when it strikes in our lives but we are all in it together. As I turned off Downs Road towards the hospital finish line I looked up and I could still see Katherine there waving at us from that window, I can still see her waving at me.

Let’s help set all like her free.

Please sponsor our walk and donate. Together we can help beat it.

2 comments on “A view from a hospital window

  1. Trevor
    February 23, 2014

    Thank you for sharing this, I don’t know what you are going through personally but I guess at some point in life we all have to go through some kind of loss. It is good that people share some of the grief they feel when it happens. I can only imagine the grief you and your family went through and nice to see you doing something positive

  2. Sean Mac Niallais
    February 24, 2014

    Well written Kevin. We all envisage long healthy happy lives but unfortunately life can cheat us of our upmost happiness and severely test our strength, especially when a loved one is lost. The heart heals slowly but the mind’s memories flood back rapidly. The moment you stopped the car and looked back at and saw Katherine staring out the window was like a telepathic impulse between your family which led to a special memory. Credit to you and your brave daughters for your efforts in awareness to a horrible disease. Best of luck in the Marsden March everyone!

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