(3 minute read.)
I have had the pleasure of knowing Jak Hancock since late 2018 when, as a workshop participant, he fully embraced exploring courage and what that meant for his future. We talked about the courage his mum, Jan Hancock, has shown and the benefits of her sharing her story.
Today, Jan is our guest blogger and shares her advice, “just keep going.” Thank you for sharing your strength.
In Jan’s own words …
When have I been courageous? Watching my husband die slowly from cancer.
Anyone who has been through this ordeal knows exactly the courage it takes to be strong for your best friend. My husband lasted 17 months from diagnosis to death and he never complained – never uttered a single word of being in pain and was incredible to the end. How could I therefore ever complain – ever be sad – ever be fearful of what was to come, so I kept all that inside for him, to be brave for him, to be the strong one, for him.
Trust me it didn’t always work; well actually every time we got the news which was worse than the previous news, it didn’t work. I will always remember an oncologist appointment in Melbourne, and for some reason I just could not stop crying before walking into his appointment. It was getting late and I said to him to go in and I’ll come in as soon as I pull myself together. I walked around and around the block so many times just sobbing, I could not for the life of me stop. He rang me from inside and said he has told the ladies at reception how upset I was and to come in and they will take us straight to a room, and I can sit and have a cup of tea (heals everything!!). I walked in and as promised, was ushered to their staff room with a cup of tea. My husband had to go and do something and I remember sitting there and taking a deep breath, trying to control my emotions. I happened to glance at the table and there was an x-ray with “deceased” written on it. I just looked, and I realised that this is what happens – I didn’t cry anymore.
After the appointment I apologised to my husband for being selfish in crying – he’s the one that’s sick and I’m just a blubbering idiot – but he said it was actually good, because he could take control of the situation and it wasn’t all about him for a change. I’ll never forget him saying that as it was a good thing for him, and I guess it made me feel better, but I also think perhaps that was the turning point of realising he is going to die.
Another time he was away in Melbourne and I had to come home to work, he rang me and we chatted. I don’t know why, but he said that he knew I’d be shattered when he went but that I would be O.K. That sentence has given me so much strength since he has been gone. When life was just too hard, I’d remember his words and be O.K. I’ll be okay and just keep going.
He was that person that said the right things in difficult situations; he was the one that made horrible situations bearable; he always had the right antidote with his hand on your back guiding you through.
While he was sick I was not “allowed” to let anyone know he was actually dying as he “didn’t want everyone to look at him like a dead man”. This was very difficult when people would ask how he was – his answer was always “yeah – never been better – all good, getting better all the time,” but in reality he was slowly dying with the cancer spreading from this kidney to his liver to his pancreas.
That sentence has given me so much strength since he has been gone. When life was just too hard, I’d remember his words and be O.K. I’ll be okay and just keep going.
When he died so many people said to me they had no idea, they were under the impression he was getting better (so it worked for him)!
Courage at your husband’s funeral – the one day I was dreading from the moment of diagnosis – drawing on your husband’s strength and the unshakable proudness and strength from your children – that’s what got me through. It also takes courage to put one foot in front of the other when you lose the daily love of your husband – the one who always has your back no matter what – that smile when he sees you – but you do it, you continue on the road of life.
Flamenco Night at Saludos is sold out!
When I think about work and I think about risk and I face the challenging situations that life throws at you, I have been galvanised by the resilience I found in dealing with my husband and his illness. I found that if I just keep going, then I could weather the storm of losing my husband.
When I was told my business had 6 weeks until I went bankrupt, I put my head down and decided to just keep going, and when I was working 90 hour weeks and falling asleep standing up, I would close my eyes, remember my husband, and just keep going, and believe that everything would turn out alright.
It is easy to go home. It is easy to quit. It takes courage to keep going, despite failure, despite bankruptcy, despite death … just keep going.
Jan with her family; (L-R) Loni, Jak, Jan, Dylan. It was the resilience and strength of family that helped Jan deal with the loss of her husband. Their support and encouragement inspired her to start Saludos.
Jan is the owner of Saludos Restaurant in Albury. If you would like to hear more of her story, she can be contacted on:
- +61 424 182 110