I’m Kerryl. In 4 days I’ll be 18 months into my journey as a widow and single mum. And you may note from my spelling, I’m an Australian blogger.
I’ve read Widow’s Voice since I joined the ranks, and am honoured that Michele has asked me to now write about my life as a widow.
Ian and I first met on a dating website. I liked that he actually used complete words and sentences in his profile - a rarity in my experience. After a few emails, we met face to face for the first time on 11 June, 2009. I walked into the bar, saw him and my immediate reaction was “that’s him” – and not that I’d identified the person I was meant to be meeting, but as the man I knew would be my husband.
As our conversation progressed that evening, Ian invited me to move on to a fundraising event for a friend’s kid’s band. I figured why not. Apparently his friend was on the phone saying ‘no, no, this is NOT a first date type of event!!’ The event can only be classified as being so bad, it was a great evening! And I agreed to see Ian again – much to the surprise of his mate.
Four months later, Ian proposed, with a cactus rather than the traditional roses. And we started trying for a family. Quick, yes, but in hindsight…
We welcomed our son John in February 2011, and married at our church on 4 June that year.
I returned to work and Ian stayed with our son as a stay at home dad. Being a father was something he’d wanted so badly and Ian was determined to spend as much time as possible with John. Many of Ian’s friends who had experienced fatherhood before him had said they regretted not spending more time with their children when they were young – perspective he was grateful for.
Ian had an extensive history of heart problems including two prior open heart surgeries, all bizarrely un-related. As confident he was, I was always concerned about what would happen in the future. Rightfully so, it turns out.
In early 2010 Ian started getting a rapid heart-beat – a resting rate in the range of 120 beats per minute. We spent a bit of time bouncing in and out of emergency at our city’s main hospital getting it set to rights. He was referred to a cardiologist who scheduled a radio frequency ablation to correct this issue for 22 February, 2012. After 12 months waiting, the surgery, by all reports at the time, went well.
On 17 March 2012, Ian’s 46th birthday, he became really unwell at his birthday lunch. He asked me to take him to the hospital and I made a one hour plus drive from the restaurant to the hospital in about 40 minutes. He collapsed in the foyer, freaking me, our 13 month old son, and the medicos as there was blood everywhere. He broke his nose on the floor, and being on blood thinners, he made a bit of a mess.
This was just the start of our journey...
Photo: One of the many wedding photos with Ian's cheeky smile - he'd just bitten the end of my nose, something he did regularly.