My dearest, darling, Adam, forever my Shnookums,

We are both medical people and we were both expecting the news yesterday, but even still confirmation was hard. We know ovarian cancer has a high mortality rate and I know that sometime in the next few months our perfect days together will end.

You’ll have the rest of your life to remember the wonderful times, but I wanted to get some memories down for you to remember when things are tough. Twenty-six years since I bumped into you (literally) and I don’t think we’ll make our silver anniversary next February.

I had seen you around the wards, but it wasn’t until I crashed into you when I was running late for work one afternoon and all those charts went flying that you actually talked to me. I’m glad I was late and even happier I was later still to handover staying to try and put pieces of paper back in the right file- imagine if old Mr Jones had been sent for a pap smear instead of Mrs Brown.

Our first date was a movie. I don’t remember which one we saw (no doubt you do!) but I remember a few months later, you were housesitting for Johno and I came over and we watched a video- It was ‘Pulp Fiction’ I think, probably not the most romantic film we’ve watched together, but oh, wow, the sex on Johno’s couch afterwards was so memorable. Clothes strewn everywhere- we never did find that sock, did we? But wow, when I sank onto you and enveloped you as we gazed into each other’s eyes, our bodies moving to the same rhythm. It was indeed perfect. It’s one of the many sexual experiences with you I hold onto and often reminisce about.

Our honeymoon in Spain- you wanted to spoil me, and you did. So much fun! Remember that park off the square in Barcelona on our first day- you ordered the sangria and were told they only served ‘Tinto de Verano.’ The fact you kept asking for sangria at every bar we stopped at, if only to get a laugh from me just reminds me of that perfect holiday. We’d fill our days sightseeing and drinking and then head home at night to demonstrate our love for each other.

Was it on our honeymoon where we discovered what your finger did for me in more than one hole? Remember these tricks, my love, I so hope you get to use them again and bring another woman the pleasures you have brought me.

Those first years together when we both worked as much as we could to save for our first house- that ‘renovator’s delight’ that we never had time to renovate and sold at a loss when I was finally pregnant! ‘It’s only money!’ was your catchcry, the same phrase you uttered when spoiling me with lavish gifts in later years. I should remind you that the only pearl necklaces you have given me have not come from jewellers and for that I am forever grateful.

You were so patient with me when we brought Jeremy home- I remember you reading to him at night from your psychiatry books as you studied for your exams. You took to fatherhood so well and really complemented me in your parenting. It never went unnoticed. It also never went unnoticed that you never pressured me for sex. If anything, I had to encourage you and remind you I wouldn’t break and was ready to feel you inside me again.

That photo on your desk of Jeremy and I at the zoo when he was about nineteen months old feeding the kangaroos. Those little dungarees and my big hair and big earrings! I’m pretty sure that was the night we came home and conceived Sarah- it was quick, but oh so satisfying. Another perfect end to a perfect day.

It wasn’t always smooth sailing, but we got through. Remember when the kids were in primary school. I was finishing my masters, you’d recently become a consultant and we thought no more nights for you and our lives would be perfect. We stopped doing things for us. Fortunately, your mum realised there were problems and took the kids for the weekend and made us escape to the weekender in the country with no mobile reception. We rekindled things very well if I recall correctly- multiple times in fact in the spa on the Saturday night. The sangria you made was tastier than the overpriced stuff we had in Madrid!

That was our wake-up call. It started our random acts of kindness to each other- the daisies you picked from the bush in our neighbour’s yard and presented to me one morning with fresh coffee, the singing telegram at work for my fortieth birthday- I don’t think any of my colleagues will forget that one and how the patients loved it too.

I hope you enjoyed my surprises too- your favourite chocolates hidden from the kids for us to snack on when they had gone to bed, the silk boxers I had delivered to your clinic- the poor receptionist opening them thinking they were a sample from a drug company! Then the little things, the smiles as we crossed paths at work occasionally, the kisses each morning and each night. You really made me forget myself at times.

Our love story will end soon. Jeremy is already convinced he is going to medical school next year- last night he told me he wants to find a cure for cancer. You might like to remind him that the scientists find the cures, doctors have little to do with it, but he will be kind and caring like you. It will be hard on Sarah. She and I have had a close relationship and you know she retreats into her shell. Remember she is her own woman, well she will be soon, and don’t be too hard on the boys she might decide to bring home.

When we were waiting for the tests last weekend you told me that I made you feel you were someone else, someone good. My Shnookums, you have always been a good man. You have sewn nothing but love in our family and when I am gone you will still have love to give and I know you will reap it. Don’t rush into anything, but then again, I know you won’t- it took me three weeks to get you to sleep with me! Perhaps don’t start the introductions by telling a woman you’re a psychiatrist- just tell her you work at the hospital!

I won’t see my fiftieth. I won’t grow old with you. I won’t get to climb the Harbour Bridge with the girls like we had planned. I won’t see Jeremy or Sarah graduate or fall in love or be there to hold them when their hearts break. I’ll never hold our grandchildren. You have some imperfect days ahead, but there will be perfect days again too. In the darkness remember I have always loved you and, especially with all the amazing love making we’ve shared, our days have been, on the whole, perfect.

Forever, your Boobs.

PS- what would Freud make of you calling me Boobs for the last 26 years?

PPS- I know you have always hated me calling you Shnookums, but it kinda stuck!

PPS- A girl in pain can never have too much morphine xxx