There’s a void, and it’s because you’re not here.
It’s been over two months now, over two months that you’ve been gone, your ashes buried beneath the earth. I haven’t been back to the cemetery. It’s too hard. One day I will. But not today.
Today I’m somewhat in denial. Somewhat lost, still, in a world that’s not mine because you’re not here with me. And you’re always with me. Or you used to always be with me. I’m in that space that has room for one. I want you to join me. Where are you? I’m in this void, this empty space. There’s no laughter here. You took that with you too. Oh, one day I may laugh again, I mean really laugh and feel it. But not today.
You were sick for so long. Five long years of chemo, radiation and immunotherapy. So many promises. Oh, the doctor said the cancer is gone. No cancer, yay. We all shout out with joy, only to find months later the cancer is back. The cancer touches you and it never lets you go. It’s my enemy, my nemesis. It, that shitty cancer, kept me from you. It took your spirit, your strength and your desire to do anything but sleep. Some of those days were good, when you didn’t feel too sick or too tired or too depressed. Right up until the end you fought that cancer, even though you were so far gone I’m sure you didn’t even know what was going on with your mind or your body. But you never let go of life, of those small things that turn into big things. Those smiles when your children and grandson would arrive. Those spontaneous dances in the kitchen. The kisses you gave me and the hugs that felt like you’d never let go. You fought like hell to hold on to the life you had and the people you loved. You didn’t back down, ever. One day at a time. I, on the other hand, worried. That was my job. I worried about you, I worried about our future, I worried about my own health. I worried you would fall or have a stroke, or that you’d die without anyone by your side, without someone to hold your hand and help you to be calm. I spent several hours a day, I’m sure, in a constant state of worry. A lot of good it did us. The worrying, I mean. All that energy spent. It filled my days.
Yet in the end, it played out as it should have. Or sort of. You fell and I couldn’t get you up. With all my heart and soul I wanted you to get up and get back into bed. I wanted you to stand up and feel your strength, but you couldn’t. You were too sick, too far gone for a miracle. I only had to make the call and I knew it would be the end. I didn’t want you to go to a nursing home. The doctor said you had no cancer so it must be dementia. Oh, how little these doctors know or how little they want to share with their patients. Dementia, my ass. I knew all along. Even though it was told to me a hundred times the cancer was gone, I didn’t believe it. I wanted to, and I was happy you believed it. Why wouldn’t you? You’re young, were young, we still had so many years of life together that we could’ve embraced and enjoyed. But it was brain cancer, and it wasn’t long before we had to say goodbye to you, the children and I. Thankfully you weren’t in a hospital but in a beautiful palliative care centre near our home. It made such a difference for you, and for us. You were so well looked after and so peaceful. No more falling, no more pain, no more running to hospitals anymore. Just like that, it was over.
Just a little over two months now you’ve been gone. But I saw you in my dream. You looked so handsome and healthy. We hugged, you asked how the children were. My beautiful blue-eyed boy. I miss you every day, every hour, every minute.
I went to see a medium, a spiritual guide. I had to know if you were okay, if you weren’t too shocked to find yourself on the other side. You weren’t really aware of how sick you were and I worried you would be afraid. I had to know if you were safe and happy. She said you were aware of what was going on but on another level. She said you were thankful and grateful for all I did for you. Those were our vows. In sickness and in health. She said you were fishing (I smiled when she told me that) and she said you felt bad we didn’t get one more trip on the books. You also said you felt like your duties as a Dad hadn’t been finished. You were the best Dad ever, my love. There’s no doubt in my mind about that.
I just wish you could’ve held off on the whole dying thing until maybe we were in our eighties. I was told by the medium that our fate is pre-destined, that we choose it. All that talk about dying young. I guess on some level you always knew, didn’t you. Sixty-four isn’t young but it’s young when you’re sixty-four.
I watched a video today of our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary party. That was such a magical night. Shannon and George sang “We’ve Only Just Begun” as you and I danced in our back yard surrounded by our children and our family and friends. I cried. I do a lot of that. And then there were videos of the cottage, of you pushing our son Ryan off the dock and into the lake. It was funny and made me laugh. So many memories, so many wonderful times together. I’m grateful for those memories every day.
I’m still in a void, but one day, just not today, I hope I can close up the hole that has ravaged my heart and really laugh again.
I hope we meet again, my love. When we do, I’ll know it’s you from the way the butterflies in my tummy will flutter. Your smile and your touch will fill that void, and we will begin anew.
Photos courtesy of Martha Farley – all rights reserved