Real people: Dear diary, I am frightened.


Our community member Violet shares her feelings when her husband fell gravely ill. He sadly passed away in 2005, 8 years after diagnosis.


Today has not been a good day! I feel I am losing the fight to stay strong, yet I know I cannot give in. Dear diary, what would I do if I didn’t have you to share my pain? We have been through so much together, you and I. When I read back through previous pages I can see just how much we have shared. You have become a part of me. You are my confidante and friend.  Together we have travelled the highs and the lows of my life. Strange though, because, it seems to me, just by sharing them with you, the lows become easier to bear, and the highs, so much more pleasurable to enjoy.

Last night my husband, Harry, had another mild heart attack. It was a long difficult night. The fear of losing him welled up inside me, like a monster in my nightmares. It is a fear I live with every day since his first heart attack three years ago. The fears you have shared with me my friend.  You were there through it all, the many hospital visits. The operation, when they implanted his pacemaker and the joy of seeing Harry getting strong enough to come home once again. Time and again I wrote the words, “Harry came home from the hospital today”.  You, more than anyone, knows the rollercoaster ride of emotions I have been on. Harry is okay and has rested all day, but is very fragile and gets weaker every day. The doctor is checking in on him and may have to take him back into hospital. Only someone who has experienced heart failure could really understand. Maybe we are all guilty of taking good health for granted until we come face to face with health problems. We tend to ignore warning signs and continue our bad habits, until faced with illness, sometimes too late for us to rectify.

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You were there, dear diary, when it all began, two years ago. He went into the doctors and the next thing I knew was a phone call from our doctor to say Harry was on his way to the heart specialist hospital in an ambulance. He was having a heart attack! Our world fell apart! Life was never going to be the same again for either of us. Sixteen weeks later, Harry was diagnosed with heart failure and an enlarged heart he was fitted with a pacemaker and came home from the hospital. That same day I fell down my front steps and broke my shoulder! The months of anxiety and travelling to the hospital, which was an hour’s drive away, had taken its toll. The next few weeks went by in a blur of pain and worry. There are no words to express our gratitude to our children during that time. They were wonderful.

So that was the start of my day dear diary. It got worse! My youngest daughter Beverley stayed with her father, whilst my eldest daughter Maureen took me to the shops for essential food shopping. The shops are just five minutes away, so we would only be gone for half an hour. I went to the ATM to get the money for the groceries, before going into the supermarket. We hurried through and were soon at the checkout. I went to get my purse to pay the teller and it was gone. My purse had been stolen! My money, my bankcards, Medicare cards and many other things it took me all day to remember about. One of which was a very sentimental and irreplaceable, a keepsake from my late ,other. The shock and horror of my vulnerability hit me like a tidal wave and I crumbled to the floor. It was too much!

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In the manager’s office later I learned that three others had been robbed also. The thieves were well organised and watched for their targets, older people, to come from the bank, or ATM with their freshly drawn out cash. With my daughter holding my hand, I gave the police all my details, but all I could think of was what would this news do to Harry? I have never been so frightened, nor felt so vulnerable in my life, as I did today.

Thank God, Harry was all right! But it could have been so much worse today. That is why I am trying to count my blessings, instead of giving in. What do you think my dear diary? Can I bounce back once again? With your help, I think I may just be able to do so. My bounce may not be so high this time round though. Thank you for listening dear friend. I wonder what tomorrow’s entry will bring?  I pray it will be something better than today.