My husband was sick for quite a while before his second diagnosis which was in fact a terminal diagnosis of cancer. I knew he was sick and probably he did too. Four months before we received the diagnosis of metastatic cancer we went on a doctor visit because he felt bad. I taped my mouth shut and sat in the doctor’s office in protest while he convinced the doctor that he was okay while he received a diagnosis of pre-diabetes. He was gone in four months. I have rode waves of anger over these last two years about this that finally eased into a ripple of forgiveness and understanding. He was worried too and had been through enough scans and surgeries for years. He was tired of it all and wanted some normalcy and peace. It had settled into his mind that the cancer was never coming back. I knew different. I am angry that we only got six weeks of time with him after that final diagnosis. I look back and think about what we would have gained from an earlier diagnosis. What we could have shared. How we could have been better prepared. The things that could have been said that weren’t. He was too sick at that point and our days were about managing his pain and suffering, not writing love letters and taking family videos and cementing our love. I am angry.
Many people who write to me admit this too. They are mad that their children got addicted to drugs and died of an overdose and left them to grieve a lifetime of searing pain and regret that there might have been more that they could have done. Parents who die who were abusive and leave their children to grieve with mixed emotions and unresolved questions of why. Wives and husbands are upset at what they found out after the fact when their spouses die~ hidden love letters, bills left unpaid, empty bottles of booze hidden in closets and under the beds, credit card statements showing up that they didn’t know about. This is complicated grief. When we grieve a person with unresolved issues in life. Life is complicated. And when life gets complicated and a loved one dies, it can leave a huge mess in that person’s wake and prolong their ability to heal.
Tonight I had a flashback to those moments. I took my dog on a walk around our neighborhood and seemed to find myself in deep discussion with my husband. I was telling him how I was making it on my own. That I was pulling myself out of this. But how angry I am sometimes over what happened. It’s the truth, irreverent as it may be. But complicated grief is just that~ complicated. And I know I am not alone on this from all the stories people share with me. What happened next reminded me of why I write. Why this all came about with Grief Anonymous. It’s the connection we still have, he and I. I rounded my last leg of my walk and my son was playing basketball in our driveway with friends and they asked me to back the car out. I was sad and distraught from my celestial conversation with my husband and I just went into the house and got the keys and came outside and turned on the ignition. LOUDLY a song began to play and stopped me in my tracks. Thank you, Jordon. I know. And now I remember you are still here to help. I love you, too.