Cherish the memories
Take the pictures. Take the videos.
Last February my husband was diagnosed with stage four metastatic kidney cancer. In the moments before his diagnosis, if anyone had asked me about my life, I would have said that we have our challenges, but after twenty one years in a happy and fulfilling marriage, I felt very lucky.
I felt lucky to be so loved and cherished by my husband. I felt lucky to be raising my two sons, who are the joy of my life. I felt lucky to have such close extended family ties, always enjoying their company, as well as their love and support
I felt lucky, despite my own health struggles with chronic migraines, cystitis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, anxiety, and a host of other medical problems.
A bomb went off last February, and I don’t feel lucky anymore.
I do feel grateful. Grateful that my beloved is still here, after surgery and immunotherapy. Grateful that, at the moment he has NED (no evidence of cancer). But if I learned anything last year, it was that a moment can change everything. So now I don’t feel so lucky. I just feel scared. Every time he coughs. Every time he looks tired. Every time we have to get through another scan.
I think about trying to live without him. How do I go on when the best part of me is missing? I think about trying to raise my boys to be good men, without their father to guide them? How can I help them cope, when even the thought of such a loss leaves me filled with terror and tears?
These feelings are like the the tide. They advance and recede, but they are always there. My goal is to live for all of the days that we have together, good and bad, and be present in each moment.
It’s not easy, but I keep trying. I don’t want to grieve for things that haven’t happened. Things happen every day. Somebody, somewhere, left for work or school today and they won’t ever come home. People get hit by buses. As John Lennon said, “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”.
I realize all these truths, sitting amongst the rubble that was my life until that fateful day last February. And I hope that someday, I will feel less afraid. Someday I will stop grieving. And maybe, just maybe, I will feel lucky again. In the meantime, I will continue sorting through the debris, always keeping an eye out for those damned buses.