Today, I have lived 19,615 days

By Emma Pearson

April 17, 2024

Main image by Jonathan Chng on Unsplash

8th December 2020

Today I have lived 19,615 days
Today, 8th December 2020, I am the exact age, to the day, that Mike was when he died
Mike was born on 27th July 1963
I was born on 27th March 1967
Mike died on 8th April 2017
I… am alive on 8th December 2020
Mike lived to be 19,615 days, or 53 years and about 8 ½ months
I… have now lived that, and am likely to live more.
How much more, no-one knows. Of course.

Mike’s Funeral Service Programme

To be even more specific,
Mike was born late evening. I was born early afternoon.
Mike died at just after 3pm. And it is now coming up to 9 am my time.
So basically, even down to the hours and minutes, I have already out-lived him.

What strikes me about these numbers and dates is the utter absurdity of it all.  Looking at, observing my face, my body, these past weeks and months, and being acutely aware of “where Mike was in the process at the same time”, I constantly felt how obscene it is, would be, must be, for an otherwise healthy person – man, woman – to get ill, very ill, where organs are taken over by out-of-control cancer cells, shut down, and collapse under the weight of it all.

Mike was ill for 4 ½ months (that we know) – in that his first symptoms and diagnosis were 4 ½ months before he died. I have been so conscious, these past 4 ½ months, since the start of August, of the incongruity of his and my lives these past months. Particularly these past two months, and these past 3 weeks, when Mike was extremely ill, and then at the hospice.

During Mike’s last three weeks he was very weak, walking with support at first, then not at all.

Mike’s final three weeks were spent in the confines of a room in a beautiful, small hospice, and its luscious garden. During his last few days, Mike was barely conscious.

These past three weeks I have had multiple coaching sessions with clients, written a couple of proposals, designed and facilitated two training programmes, had client meetings, co-facilitated an almost 6-hour online training session with Tara volunteers, volunteered at Tara twice, walked the dog a gazillion times, shopped, cooked, eaten, drank, had sex, been on a few runs, climbed up a mountain, participated in a panel discussion for a widows’ conference, been interviewed for my first podcast… and probably more.

I look healthy. My cheeks are firm and ruddy. My skin is glowing, despite my permanently tired state. My body is not as fit as usual due to COVID-times, but it’s a hell of a lot stronger than Mike’s was.

At age 53 and 8 ½ months
At 19,615 days
At the point at which I “take over the baton” again
At the point at which I outlive Mike, again

Image by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

It’s sobering.
Uncharted territory.
Totally absurd.

About Emma Pearson

2 thoughts on “Today, I have lived 19,615 days

  1. Sobering indeed. I held Mike soon after he was born. I held Mike soon after he died. You held him in between. He is our bond xxx

  2. Emma, thank you so much for sharing. And it resonates with me. Between the ages of 25 and 27 I thought a lot about my dad. I felt a different kind of connection with him. I wondered if there may be some absurd destiny that I might follow him to the grave. As my children approach the age of 27 the same unhelpful thoughts.

    I never realised any one else thought in this way. Absurd and yet not absurd. A measure of the depth of love.

    Love is so powerful it hurts

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