SLIDER

SUMMER WHITTAKER


'When you can tell your story and it doesn't make you cry, you know you are healing.'

- unknown.

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LEFT ME HEARTBROKEN.


I did once feel like loving this man was destroying my life. I couldn't bare the pain of being in love, yet he had no idea how I felt. The whole journey, how it all began, the first day he was rushed into the intensive care unit, are days I replay in my mind often. I had to sit there, at the age of nineteen, and question my future. This man made me feel true depression, true fear, he made me feel alone.

Death was something I feared. Six months before Jacob went into hospital, my Father passed away peacefully in his sleep. We had no idea he was ill, he just went to sleep like any other day, but didn't wake up. I feel so lucky that I had the chance to say goodnight because that was the last he would ever hear.

Getting a phone call to say Jacob was in the intensive care unit with Meningitis seemed like a sick joke. Jacob never got ill, he was a fit, strong man who couldn't be broken. How could he go from being so strong, to suddenly so vulnerable. 

Being told he had less than a ten percent chance to live, I cannot even begin to explain. I genuinely felt my heart shatter. The pain in my chest was unbearable, I had never felt pain like it. Something I genuinely feared and the thought of losing Jacob, left me literally speechless.

I was spending my days in the intensive care unit and spending my nights at Jacob's relatives, but I had never felt so alone. My family came to visit me for a day, to take me away from the hospital for a few hours, to try and relive normality, but I was left so empty. I felt like the whole world was in slow motion, walking invisible through the streets. I had lost who I was, any confidence I had, my faith, everything just left me to an empty mind that had to make the most important decisions of my life.


We didn't know at this stage what was to come. He had been in the intensive care unit for just under two weeks at this stage when he told me to leave. He didn't want me to stick around, he knew I had a future and that he wanted me to live it. Should I stay? 

That feeling of heartbreak is something I can never forget. The pain of loving this man was from the fear of losing him. I knew that this feeling I couldn't describe was something significant and new to me, because I had never felt it before. It was the feeling of pure love. It was something others couldn't understand, something I couldn't explain. How could I physically leave this man?

Jacob stood by me when other's walked away. Jacob understood my like others couldn't. He saw something in me that others would judge. He believed in me.

All in all, Jacob spent 699 days in hospital, which was approximately three quarters of our relationship at that time, and it only took hours for the disease to change his life.

I was depressed and I am not ashamed of that. I still suffer with my 'down days', but it's nothing that I cannot disguise and handle. Although, I like to believe that it is understandable. I just wish somebody out there could somehow understand and let me know that it was okay to feel this way.

There was a stage where I hated my life. I hated what it had become, mainly due to jealousy. I envied those who could live their lives, whilst Jacob and I would sit in the hospital with absolutely nothing to do, to just simply sit there and wish that time would speed up. If I walked past you on my way to the hospital and you smiled, I apologise, because I was ignorant. I didn't want to talk to anybody, I didn't want to see anybody, I didn't want to smile back and pretend I was fine in the fear of a conversation. I was too fragile.

I felt that people vanished, even though they were there, I was just blind to help and love. I couldn't see any positives in such a difficult situation.

Jacob called me up one night to discuss his choice of getting both legs amputated below the knees, it seemed so casual for him because he had his heart set on this, knowing this was the only way forward. Although I knew this was the only way to progress, as soon as I had finished showing my love and support over the phone, as soon as I hung up, I cried like I had never done. I think I didn't leave the house for a few days as I told people I simply felt ill. I couldn't face reality, and I couldn't face the world.

I was too scared to ask anybody for comfort, I just do what I do and walk around with this 'smile' on my face and listen to people when they would say I was 'strong'. I would listen and think to myself, if only you knew. 

I waited for Jacob to come out of his surgery for six hours. I sat a a table in the hospital cafe by myself for these six hours, staring at the people walking past. It was like the whole world was in fast forward, yet I had just paused. Tears rolled down my face because I was so scared to see him, I didn't want to. I replayed what I would say in my head like it was a changing scenario. I felt weak and empty, but I knew I wanted to be there. It somehow felt right.

Seeing Jacob and seeing his smile melted my heart. The power of his smile stopped the tears from rolling down my face as before. He had never looked so alive. I just remember touching his bandages to his new legs and hearing him say 'it's the start of our future'.


I suffer, mainly because there is nothing I can do to help. I used to wish I could replace Jacob in that situation, but now I don't. I am glad he went through this. I sound like a harsh bitch right now, but hear me out.

If you're reading this, you know me or you know Jacob, or you've followed this journey or clicked on the wrong link. Either way, it's probably because Jacob, or this journey, has inspired you in some way.

I know that I wouldn't be able to inspire as many people as Jacob. I wouldn't be able to smile afterwards and hold my head up high. Whereas he has a strength that I wished I had at the very beginning. He has the ability to change views, opinions, create a hope for people in the world. I am glad he can use this whole experience to ignite a dedication and motivation for life. I feel this dedication each day. 

Yes, I may seem like a pathetic, whiney bitch to some, but to others, I want them to understand me. My bad days, my good, my unusual personality and awkward jokes, because it's who I am for now. It's a struggle trying to find yourself after something like this, because all my attention has gone else where, I feel that at times I lose myself.

This is difficult to share, although I know I share quite a lot, but it's hard to explain. It's hard for me to connect to you on such a level that I hope you understand, so you can look past my little mistakes as I sometimes struggle.

Hey ho, life is life, embrace it, live it, YOLO, all that jazz. But, the truth is, I have never learnt to question life, just take each day as it comes. I am still taking baby steps in this marathon we call life, but at least I am moving. I am moving slowly, hand in hand with Jacob as he learns to walk again on his prosthetics. Depression is a bitch, it's a nasty thing to carry around, but having Jacob now stand next me, like old times, helps to relieve the weight.


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