Two of my Facebook friends lost their husbands after long battles with cancer this week. One on Sunday and one last night. I have never met either woman but feel as though I know them through their journeys. Many of you have told me you feel the same about me. I reached out to both and tried to reassure them that they will survive but it’s activated some real grief for me today.
It takes so little to take me right back to those difficult final days with John. I went onto his page this morning and was reading the posts from those last few weeks. That time was brutally hard and surreal all at the same time. Through it all, he was his strong, loving, happy, wonderful self, concerned about all of us while facing his own imminent death.
So much has changed for me since John died. Sometimes it feels like he’s been gone forever and other days (like today), it feels like just yesterday he was holding me, apologizing for having to go and feeling helpless to help me through it. He told me about a month before he died, as I cried in his arms at bedtime just like I’d done pretty much every night for the previous few months, that I had the harder job. He said he knew where he was going and he wasn’t afraid, but he was so sorry that I’d be left here with my grief and our kids’ grief, to deal with it all without him. He said he’d trade places with me if he could.
He was right. I have had a hard job. There have been times I haven’t known how I’ll survive one more day. I have cried buckets and buckets of tears and, just when I think I’m pretty much done crying, a day like today hits and it’s not true at all. I never wallow in self pity or feel sorry for myself, but I also don’t fight the sadness when it hits. It’s futile to do that and I know it’s part of my healing process. I lean into it, let myself feel everything, and then blow my nose and move on.
I am strong most days and weak once in awhile. I don’t argue with what I’m feeling or even try to understand why I’m feeling it or what’s triggering it. It doesn’t really matter. Grief is a challenging journey and a difficult one to navigate. One minute it’s a beautiful, sunny drive on a straight road through scenery you love looking at, and the next it’s sharp, steep curves that sneak up on you and force you to hit the brakes and hold on for dear life.
The one thing I’ve learned about this journey is that I have to keep driving. There’s no turning around and going back. But on days like today, when I’m pulled to remember so much from our past, I wish u-turns were permitted and I could. #livelikejohnny #lovetrumpscancer