THERE are some weeks where life throws so many examples of the same life lesson at you to learn that the only choice is to sit down, shut up and listen. Since the wedding, I have been constantly smashed over the head by the concept of expectations.

I expected the wedding to be emotionally difficult, that I would have moments where I couldn’t hold back the tears and have to excuse myself to the toilets to quietly centre myself at the enormity of the day. I expected our families to give us poignant hugs and sad knowing looks that wouldn’t need words. In fact, there were none of those things. I expected the three days Greg and I went away after the wedding to be calm, relaxed and blissful. They weren’t. Greg wasn’t feeling well so slept for over four hours during each day while I pottered around the hotel on my own feeling miserable. It was here that I went to the toilets to cry and felt angry at the world because it wasn’t supposed to be like this.

Herein lies the problem: who is to say that anything is supposed to be like anything? While I was sitting in the hotel on my own, a big wedding was being hosted there. I sat in the lounge while the bride and her dad waited for attendants to usher them in. We caught each other’s eye and smiled – her smile was nervous and excited while mine felt wistful and sad. I realised I so desperately wanted her naivity in that moment, to be able to go into marriage with big dreams and plans for the future. That is how we suppose things should be.

Greg and I also had an important hospital appointment where we discussed what our next move with his treatment would be. I expected it to be a tough meeting and had my notebook of questions ready to be fired. I expected that we would be going straight into a new chemo treatment because there had been disease progression. Instead, our oncologist suggested that Greg have a break from treatment; in fact, a four-month break that would mean we could have Christmas without him feeling so ill.

The lesson to be learned here is expectations can cause both pain and joy. I expect I’ll forget that by next week.

* Stacey Heale has left her career as a fashion lecturer to focus on her two lively little girls and fiancé, Delays frontman Greg Gilbert, who was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer in November 2016. She launched the viral campaign Give4Greg to raise funds for lifesaving treatment: You can read more at her blog