Damien’s Note: Matt and I have followed each other on Twitter for some time and have had enjoyed good interactions. Last week, he reached out via Direct Message requesting my email, saying that he had something to share with me. When I opened the email, in the middle of my work day, I was dumbstruck. I had to get up and leave my home office for a bit to absorb the pain.
Matt’s story hit home because I know what it’s like to loose someone important to death, but I can’t imagine loosing my wife. I hoped that Matt might want me to share this story on my blog. Matt’s story is one of resilience. He’s proof that our sobriety can be stronger than our emotions, life’s twists and turns, and even death.
I married an amazing woman in 2004. We had been together as boyfriend & girlfriend for 7 years to the day when we tied the knot. Not only was I marrying the love of my life, this person was my best friend/lover & soul mate.
I came out as bisexual to her early in the relationship, she understood and excepted me. If I am in a relationship with a person that’s it I am just in a relationship with that one person.
By coming out to her it was as if I had come out to the entire world. I was free to be myself, no secrets and no shame. When I saw her eye up some attractive random man could smile and tell her she had good taste, a relationship like this comes but once a life.
Now with grown up children who live away and have their own lives its our time again. We have a flat in Newark (Nottinghamshire) and are like teenagers again. We are both recovered alcoholics so we don’t drink at all. And life is good. We go to local pubs regularly (for coffee & food) have good social friends and support.
During this time, Caz, (my wife) has helped to volunteer in the cold weather shelter for homeless and I am working towards being a mentor in alcohol addiction program’s.
OK, now for the curve ball! In spring 2016, Caz was feeling poorly so we went to our doctors. She was having trouble controlling her bladder. The doctor did what doctors do then referred her to hospital. The long and short of it is it was cancer.
Many tests and trips to the hospital now start. Cancer of bladder and also a blockage in kidneys is diagnosed. Caz needed an operation on her bladder to remove cancer. We both joke about ‘having the plumbing done’!
The date of operation is set and planned to take place in Derby. We have much love, respect and trust in our NHS.
Bags are packed, credit on both phones, settled in hospital we’re in this for the long hall we’ve beaten alcoholism together we trust that we can beat cancer.
Many things go through your mind in times of hardship, but this was something else. After the operation the surgeon phoned to update me (Caz was still under anesthesia). The operation did not go as planned, the cancer had spread to the pelvis.
Its terminal, looking at months rather than years.
Words cannot explain what it feels like to have your world ripped away but at that moment I felt it.
We did what we always did we lived, we laughed, we loved each other.
We had a last holiday with family.
She bought a new TV for the bedroom and paid extra for the 3year guarantee.
She never complained.
I looked after her like any good husband should, working with the district nurses would change her kidney drainage bags and keep her pain levels down.
She died in my arms 4th November 2016. I felt her heart stop beating watched the lights go out in her eyes whilst talking to her calmly throughout.
So here I am, alone.
I will not stop. I must carry on.
I’m still sober.
I’m not bitter or angry, just a little lost in the world.
Bisexual. Father. Husband. Happy.
Matt Smedley is an alcoholic in full recovery living in Newark, UK. He last drank on 22 April 2015. Matt enjoys cooking & coffee.