It’s been almost two years since former Prime Minister Bob Hawke passed away and his wife of 24 years Blanche d’Alpuget remembers him with “great affection and admiration”.

Hawke died at the age of 89 on May 16th, 2019.

D’Alpuget spoke with Michael Usher on The Latest on Thursday night about how her life has changed since her husband passed away as well as dealing with her grief and battling breast cancer.

“It took up so much of my time, because first I had months of chemotherapy, and then I had to recover from that,” she said.

“Then I had a big surgery and recover from that, and then have more drugs pumped into me.

“So in a way, the first anniversary of his death wasn’t as bad because I was just struggling to survive.”

As she struggled with chemotherapy, she felt “so tired”.

“But there’s a feeling of sisterhood and brotherhood between all people who’ve experienced cancer, really; only they know what it’s like,” she said.

“I didn’t think I was going to die during any of it; I knew I was going to survive.”

She also reflected on Hawke before he passed away as he became “sweeter and sweeter” as he got older.

“It was really wonderful. Our love just got stronger and stronger,” she said.

“My life is simpler now, but it’s missing an element, a very large element.”

This article originally appeared on Over60.