Jody & Kenneth

My beautiful husband-

I woke up groggy, thinking I just had the worst nightmare of my entire life. I am slowly relieved as I realize I’m actually in our bed…I’m safe! I look over at my beautiful husband for instantaneous proof that I was only dreaming, that he was still sleeping next to me, but he is not there…

Once again, I take the urn off the night table. I place it behind my back so I can feel the weight of him, so I can imagine for just a moment that we are both cuddling, like we did each night. That maybe, just maybe, I could know what it’s like to sleep with him one last time.

The emotional safety and profound relief of waking up in my bed after what I thought was a hideous dream, never returns. Going to sleep to escape reality, hoping to dream of him alive and healthy, now becomes something I look forward to in exchange for the waking hours of the day.

Thinking back to before he passed away, my biggest fear was that he would die alone. Perhaps, while I was in the bathroom or during my midnight run to the kitchen to make him Pastina.

I remember promising him that I would be with him until his last breath. I was very determined that nothing would prevent me from keeping that vow.

So, I continued to vigilantly watch on helplessly as cancer silently slithered through his bones and organs like a demonic reptile consuming his body piece by piece…until eventually, finding its way to me. There goes my heart, my soul, a physical and emotional assassin, leaving me with nothing.

I never did get the memo that tells you what it is you’re supposed to do as you watch the love of your life die painfully from cancer. There are no instructions on how to do this, how to do “cancer.” I can tell you though, you really don’t need instructions, you just need to do “love”…to be there unconditionally…to simply show up.

I did get the honor and the privilege of holding his hand as he left this world. I also had the comfort of knowing that I kept my promise to my husband…to be with him to the very end.