It has been ten months since my husband, Ron, passed away following a fifteen month battle with cancer. I am doing well, and moving forward in my new life. I have a cousin…or actually a first cousin once removed if you want to be technical, whose husband has been battling a rare cancer for nine years and is now in the final stages, losing his fight as well.
I was reading Michelle’s post on Facebook yesterday. Many notes of sympathy and prayers. They know her, they know her husband Charlie, they know what a great couple and wonderful marriage they had. I, on the other hand, have not seen Michelle personally in years. We were together as children, but not as adults. We are in contact only by Facebook now. However, I can truly feel her pain.
As I read her post I could feel the helplessness at watching a man who has lived an active, positive life quickly deteriorate into a person who is lifeless, sick, unable to manage even the simple things in life. There is no “fix.” You are moving toward the end and you both know it but don’t really want to say it. You are losing the person you thought would be there for decades more. It is an emotional situation like none other you will ever experience. You aren’t losing a grandparent, parent, sibling, cousin, aunt, uncle, or child. You are losing a spouse. It is different and only those who have ever experienced it can understand what a different loss it is.
I typed a reply, relying on my experience. I had to cut it short. I was sitting at work and almost started crying because I really can feel what she is going through. What did I tell her? Cherish the memories, remind him of those things. Tell him it was a great marriage. Tell him you will be okay. Those are things that will bring him peace as he moves toward the end.
She is going through the hard part. Then there is the adjustment period following the death. But as time passes she will be okay. She will live a new “normal” life without Charlie. She has a positive attitude and her new life will also be positive and good. How do I know? Because that is what I am doing. I’ve been there. I can feel her pain. I know she will persevere and move forward. That is the type of person she is.