"Make us even closer" - "but I still can't seem to believe that he actually left me - especially when he did."

by Chris Stringer
(Yorkshire. U.K.)

In the spring of 2005 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Found a lump.....etc. etc.

My husband came with me to the one stop breast clinic, - and he held my hand and said "I bet this will make us EVEN closer".

As I started chemotherapy, I guess there were signs of things not being right, but I was so busy trying to act as though everything was normal, and trying to show I didn't care about having cancer to even notice.

As my hair fell out, he cut it short in the kitchen one evening. Things were weird, we were having an extension built, (somewhere for him to take his dirty farming clothes off before he got in the house), so often for days at a time workmen were around. I honestly cannot remember too much about that time now, maybe I have blocked it out, because honestly, the trauma was horrific.

He is a farmer, and it was harvest time so I tried not to bother him too much, but (massive clue) he went out to work and didn't call home at all for 12/13/14 hours. The week after chemo is a bit grim, and I finally asked him if he could call home, even just to see how I was. He then started buying a sandwich, bringing it home, eating it and returning to work.

In the September I managed to organise a surprise birthday party for my husband. Again, I look back and see things that were not right, but again at the time I missed them. Things that other people might not notice, or find any significance in, such as; I bought him a Bang and Olfsen MPV player. He loved gadgets, and especially top of the range gadgets. And yet he said straight out that he didn't like it. My husband was a lovely sensitive man who would never hurt me.
I should really have picked that one up!

Just over a month later, we had a stroll up to our local pub, even took my dog (whom I don't think I could have got through the whole thing without)
When we got home, sat down, tv on etc. Mark picked up his lap top, said he couldn't take this anymore, and left.
I didn't even know that he meant he was leaving me. After several frantic phone calls, I learned that he had in fact, left me.

I was absolutely devastated. I honestly don't know how I got through the next days, weeks, months and even years. I had to drive myself a 2 hour round trip every day for 4 weeks for my radiotherapy. It always seemed that I was the only person there alone.

He refused to even talk to me about what was happening, or why it was happening.
It was not knowing why, that nearly broke me. I lost all semblances of pride, I begged, pleaded, I tried every way I could to make him, make him WANT to come home. But nothing worked.

I spent 5 years blaming myself and wondering what I could have done so wrong so as to make my husband leave me at a time when I needed him the most.
I really truly never ever saw it coming. Our relationship was a little up and down, but we were both (I thought) committed to our marriage, and I really thought we were good together, - a team, partners. Overall, I thought we were in love and happy.
He was a lovely man (so I thought), so loving and special.
I was proud that we were married, proud he loved me as much as he did. A 'nice' man, a good man, a man that used to hold me tight and say to me that he "would never ever leave me" (I did ask him about that, he told me "he meant it at the time".
He was what I wanted my sons to grow up and be like.

It somehow, bit by bit, came out that there was another woman, younger, healthy and, although I hate thinking this, living my life.

It took 5 years to more or less come to terms with my husband leaving me. I saw countless counsellors, doctors, I even talked to the Samaritans. At one time I had the 'Crisis Intervention Team' visiting me daily, as I got so deeply depressed.

I am crawling out of the hole now, but I still can't seem to believe that he actually left me - especially when he did.
To me, that was far worse than having cancer.

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