It all began on 14 February 2020 with suspected gall stones. However, an ultrasound scan showed no gall stones but ‘something’ on the liver. Another scan showed the possibility of cancer. Then, a biopsy in March confirmed it: my husband had multiple tumours on his liver.

How does one cope with this life changing news?

As Christians, my husband and I shared the same faith in a God who knows how long our time on earth will be. We trusted him because of his amazing love for us. In fact, Christmas reminds me of this love that sent His own son, Jesus, into our world to die for us on a cross, paying for our sin, and then rise again to give eternal life to any who believe. This loving Saviour became our great source of strength to cope with the days that lay ahead for us.

Probably the best thing we discovered throughout this time was to be thankful. We learned to be thankful for every day we had together but it was especially tough as we entered the first lockdown period just two weeks after the biopsy. This meant we couldn’t go and visit places we loved or see friends and family.

“This loving Saviour became our great source of strength to cope with the days that lay ahead for us.”

So we made it our evening prayer to look back over the day, and we always found many things to thank God for: the care from the nurses, the Sue Ryder team, a caring family, friends who visited and helped with our ironing, neighbours who went shopping for us, and so the list goes on.

Our family and church friends were a great source of comfort, love and practical help but most of all praying for us that we would know God’s grace to get through it.

There were many times when we wept together but despite the sadness of the inevitable separation that was looming we both knew that death wasn’t the end, but there was a place of eternal peace and joy waiting for my husband in heaven with God his Saviour.

Eighteen months later, in August 2021, my husband passed away and finally entered the peace and joy of heaven. Now I am trusting in my loving Saviour to help me live without my husband. Christmas is all about God coming to be with us – and I know he is with me now too.