Nicki reflects on life after Did...
Two years ago, on 6th November 2021, I lost my gorgeous husband Dave, who I always call Did, to a glioblastoma (GBM), 14 months after his cruel diagnosis. He was 46 and had undergone all the standard NHS treatment as well as personalised immunotherapy treatment in Germany after we raised £110,000 through crowdfunding.
Did was also a loving father to Dylan, Lydia and Sydney.
Just four days after his death, Did and I should have been celebrating our 12th wedding anniversary, a week later Sydney’s 10th birthday and a month later Dylan’s 24th. As if that wasn’t tough enough, we then had to cope with Christmas – normally our favourite time of the year. Now, when I look back, I feel we just existed the best we could. So many firsts in such a short space of time that we had to face without our beloved Did.
Two years on from the anniversary of Did’s passing and it still feels like yesterday. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of Did and how life would have been had he still been here with us.
The journey he embarked on was always about winning to the end, with quality of life, so I’m glad his decline was very rapid. We did everything we could to try to keep Did in our lives and it still wasn’t enough to stop this cruel disease taking over him.
The first year after losing Did was so full on and, if I’m honest, my way of coping was investing time in setting up Did’s legacy and constantly campaigning, raising awareness and funds for Brain Tumour Research. Setting up the Fundraising Group Team Hopkins - Winning for Did enabled us to support the charity and do just that.
Almost a year after his loss, having never run a marathon in my life and struggled to complete a half-marathon, I completed the London Marathon with my running buddy Rachel to raise funds for Brain Tumour Research. I know he’d have been very proud because he used to say to me: “you’ll never stick to running”.
Another year on and I continue to be a passionate campaigner (and honoured to be invited by my MP Holly Mumby-Croft to go to Downing Street in recognition of my work as a Charity Champion). I find opportunities to raise awareness and try to help bring about change for the disease that broke our family’s hearts.
Coming up on 18th November, I’ll be braving the flames and leading supporters of Brain Tumour Research in a fundraising firewalk at Bottesford Football Club in Scunthorpe, including my friend Louise Smith who lost her dad Clive, a well-known local butcher, to a brain tumour.
If love could have kept Did here things would be so different.
Life had a different idea for Did and for us all. In true Team Hopkins style we continue to celebrate Did’s life – after all he was full of life himself and always lived every day to the maximum. He always joked he was the second best dancer everywhere and now he will be the second best in heaven. We still hear his contagious laugh in so much that we do.
This journey has seen me take on being a single mum, supporting Sydney growing up into a beautiful resilient older girl, as well as stepping up to take on board every decision, while questioning myself “is this right?”
Did’s brain tumour journey brought us closer as a family which is such a comfort because it was the one thing that I always knew Did was scared we would lose.
I’ve embarked on a journey of self-care and discovery, as well as positivity and learning to face challenges that are thrown my way. I tell myself that if I try my best I’m doing Did proud!
I will forever keep Did’s memory alive as I venture through the grief that I’ve learnt to accept will always be there. It's learning to live a new life in a new way. In everything we do, we try to do our best, all of us as a family. We are all intent on keeping Did’s memory alive.
Forever loved and missed, Did, you were the best husband, dad and son we could ever have had!