Monday, June 27, 2011

The First One

I originally opened this blog about a year ago with the intent of using it to discuss my own creative writing attempts with my critique group and other like-minded aspiring children's writers. But like many unpublished writers this space remained as empty as the pages of the stories I was 'thinking' about writing.

Then 2 weeks ago, as is often the case, something happened that changed my life, and my need for my own personal space to share, cry, yell, kick, scream and vent where those who wanted to could read what was going on with me as I struggled through my darkest hour, without alienating all my friends on facebook who were happily posting about shock eliminations on MasterChef and the cute things their kids did that day. I am vaguely aware that while my own world is crashing around me, life is going on for everyone else. Don't get me wrong, I do have moments when I can happily share in their joy and have sympathy that their boss made them work over time with no pay. But I do have other moments where the shock and grief that is taking over every part of my being renders me incapable of listening to the 'normal' going on of others.

I don't feel guilty about this. This isn't the first time I've suffered major grief. When I was 20, I lost my 19 year old brother. I do know that time heals all wounds. But right now I'm in the thick of it, and hence my self-therapy that I'm sharing here for those that want to know.

Sunday, 12 June 2011 was like any other Sunday. My gorgeous 39 year old Canadian partner and fiance, Chris, who I met 11 years ago in an IRC chat room and had been living with for 8 years spent the day watching the UFC with my brother and a couple of mates, while I was at home starting to clean and pack up our house for a move in 2 weeks time. That afternoon, Chris complained of a terrible headache (he rarely ever got headaches) and I thought he was having his first migraine (I get them a lot so his symptoms sounded the same). After having some pain relievers he went and laid down for a few hours while I continued cleaning and made dinner. About 8.30pm I was on the phone to my sister when Chris came stumbling out of the room with his hand to his head. I just took one look at him and practically hung up on my sister. I knew it was serious. He barely made it to the kitchen before collapsing to the floor and asking me to 'just make it stop'. Immediately I called Triple 0. Following their instructions, while we were waiting for the ambulance, I managed to help him get dressed. By the time we went to put on his shoes he was feeling numb down the left hand side of his body and I had to put his shoes on for him. I was able to keep him calm by telling him "Don't worry hun, help is on the way"

After the ambulance left I called my mum to tell her they thought he was having a 'temporary stroke'. Even driving to the hospital I wasn't that worried. I thought maybe worst case scenario there might be some mild paralysis. Expecting to sit in the emergency waiting room for hours I was a bit surprised when they let me in straight away and sent me to a private waiting room. I was in there for a good 10 minutes that I began to wonder why am I in this room, not in the main waiting area?

Shortly after the doctor came in to tell me that they believed Chris had suffered a brain aneurysm. From there everything becomes a blur. I remember hearing the words "life threatening" and "may not survive". Immediately I got hold of my mum and vaguely blurted out those same phrases. Knowing she was calling the rest of my family, I also called my best friend (who incidentally is a social worker at the same hospital).

In what seemed like only a matter of minutes everyone was there - my best friend and her partner, my parents, 2 sisters, brother and brother-in-law.

Somewhere in between this, I was able to go and sit with Chris for a while. At this point he was in an induced coma.

From here my memories are complete blurs. Sitting in the ICU waiting room until 4am. Visiting Chris again. My dad calling his family in Canada. Being told his father and brother had managed to get a flight and were flying out straight away. Another visit or two with the doctors. The prognosis wasn't good.

Waking up Tuesday morning after a couple of hours of medication induced sleep, I knew that I was going to have to get up, get dressed, go to the hospital where the doctors were going to tell me they had completed the tests to confirm what they suspected by Monday evening that Chris was brain dead. (The doctors had suspected this Monday evening but needed to wait for certain medications to leave his system before they could confirm with 100% certainty as he was still 'breathing' through the ventilator). The desire to stay and live in bed, our bed, and never get up was overwhelming. I'll never know how I managed to get up. But I knew I had to for Chris.

Finally around midday I was allowed in to see him. I hadn't spoken to the doctors as yet as we were waiting for Chris's father and brother who were arriving from Canada around 2pm. Walking in to that room alone was the worst moment of my life. I didn't need a doctor to tell me he was gone. Despite the ventilator still breathing for him, there was no doubt 'he' was no longer with me. My partner, my future, my best friend, gone.

Rest in peace Chris, I'll love you forever. That special 'look' that you would give me across a crowded room at a party. The way we danced to Tony Bennett and Diana Krall in our living room. Those intimate moments that I can never share with anyone else. My heart breaks every day that you aren't here. I struggle to feed the dogs or do laundry because that was always your job. I can't bear to go into our grocery store because of the never ending love that I had for making sure you had your 'treats' and the meals we shared together. I am not ready to say good bye, and to be honest, I really don't think I ever will. While we never had a chance to say the vows, our lives for the past 11 years were together - for better or for worse, in sickness and in health and I'll cherish, adore and love you all the days of my life.


  1. I'm crying for you Kirsty. Such a terrible, terrible loss. I'm so very sorry. Nothing I can say can make it better. I didn't really know Chris, but he seemed to have a quiet way to touch everyone around him. Like a quiet strength that held things together. I'm thinking and praying for you. xxxx

  2. god Kirsty, there are no words . . .
    I know you know that peace will find you one day, but for now, just let it be what it is.

  3. My heart breaks for you. Everything I have heard about Chris makes me believe he was an amazing guy, and indeed your best friend. You are in my thoughts and prayers as you come to terms with this loss, and I pray you find sunshine in your world once again.

  4. I'm at a loss for words, Kirsty. I am so so very sorry for your loss. I wish I could be there to give you a hug. My heart breaks for you. You're an amazing woman and I know goodness is around you even in this dark time.

    I am so very sorry.... XO