Kevin’s Story

I lost my beautiful wife Melissa to cervical cancer in 2013. She was just 38 and we had been together for about 20 years. She was my best friend. We have 3 beautiful children and we all miss her so much everyday. When Melissa was diagnosed it was hard as I didn’t know anyone who’d been through it. Just because you smile doesn’t mean you’re okay and behind closed doors is where it’s the hardest. I wish we’d reached out to the Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation earlier, and connected with other families that were going through what we were going through. It would’ve been nice to have someone there for us, someone who understood. Now a friend of mine’s wife has been diagnosed with cervical cancer so I am sure to touch base with them as I know what they are going through.

Our family is heavily involved in our local footy community and they were such a support while Melissa was sick and afterwards. They were our family. From cooking and shopping for us to just listening to us or helping with the kids- they really were so helpful. A disease like this doesn’t just affect your immediate family, it affects your friends, networks, your whole community. I suffer from depression & grief, when you’re alone is when it is at its worst. I have had to learn that it is not a sign of weakness to admit you’re depressed, you’re grieving.

The strength that Melissa showed was incredible and such an inspiration- right up to the end whenever anyone asked how she was she would always reply “I’m really good thanks”. Poetry has helped me a little with the healing. Here is a poem I penned for her just after she left us:

“Wanderer” 18/4/2013

You found me when I was wandering
You spoke to me like you have known me all my life,
You said,”I have been looking for you,”why?
You replied ,”I always do”,
When one of us goes the other starts looking until we find each other,
It has been that way from the start of time,
Do you “love me” yes you replied,
“Do I love you”, yes
What happens now, I asked
“We stay together “, you replied,
How long,”not sure” you answered
Until its time for one of us to leave
But what of the pain in my heart when you go
When will it go away ?
Will it go away?
No, it will ease in time
When I cry is it because I’m sad and lonely?
You replied, ” no it is the love we share for each other”
No matter how long it takes or wherever you are, I’ll find you.
We are husband and wife , parents , friends, soul mates
Our love will last for all time.

My tips for Australian women about cervical health

My biggest piece of advice to those facing this disease is to reach out. Don’t stay closed off; surround yourself with people you know can help. We’re Australians, we help each other, that’s what we do.