If You had a Choice

by Zoe

We live in a state of constant pain. Nothing we do or see or touch does not remind us of our beloved. Nights meant for those quiet moments, talking, laughing, dreaming, loving, are now megaphones for our pain, amplifying back so that it slams you into submission. There are no holiday’s, there are no anniversaries, lest you count the anniversary of your beloved’s death. Everything in my life stopped on that day, this life I live now is a shadow with a pale comparison of my life with John.

When he got sick, I begged him to go to the doctor, but he played it down. In my heart now, I think he knew it was bad, and he never lied to me so he simply tired to protect me all that he could. Did it cost him time, this protection of me, I will never know, but I cannot live thinking that so I go with no, he was so far down the road with his cancer there was no going back. When he was in the hospital, he wanted to talk about treatments and options. The doctors wanted him to understand his reality. I remember once standing up and screaming at the doctors that they were just trying to make their workday easy by killing him off and they could not do that. I remember the look of shock on their face, and John patting my hand saying honey its ok, I know what they are saying they are trying to be sure we understand. Understand what? There was nothing to understand, in a time when we can use an electron microscope to find a pimple on the butt of a flea, how do you not cure this disease, this cancer, we would fight and we would win.

I have been having a very hard time lately, comes in waves and some of them knocked me over. I was laying in bed crying gasping for air as I prayed to be with him, not to wake up here. But, I woke up, I have never been so sad to wake up in my life. But I did. So I lay there and something my daughter said to me a long time ago snuck up in my mind. Knowing what I know now, would I choose never to be with him if it spared me this pain? We as humans are wired to avoid pain, fight or flight... not walk into it willingly. But when you see the person you love slipping away like that, it is exactly what you do; you walk into the flames of despair so they are not alone. My answer was simple, no; I would not give up one second of John. Never.

But as I lay there, I thought about those doctors. I have to tell you I hated them, they were rude and condescending and did not listen to his will to fight. They REFUSED to give hope. Would that have been so horrible? On the other hand, have we become such a litigious society that physicians are afraid to offer simple, hope?

The other side of that is people might miss their last chance to say good-bye, or I love you. And this hope is it for us, or them? Could John have fought harder if they had been more positive? No, his cancer had compromised his liver and pancreas as well as shut down his kidneys. Did they give hope and I did not hear it? John was so serene and I was a banshee, I wanted them to treat him, call whoever do whatever. I was on a particularly pointy rant once and the doctor looked at John and said this is harder on the ones who are with you, the ones who fight to keep you here. Ok first talking about me when I am in the room and pissed, not a good ideal. Second how could you think this was hard on me. It is not hard on me, I am not sick. I am not taking all these drugs, my skin is not turning yellow, I do not have Cancer…. The doctor left and I reached for my pocketbook. John asked where are you going, I said I am going to the hospital administration I will be dammed if that doctor will ever touch you again. He grabbed my hand and said no you are not. I remember being dumbfounded as I stuttered out all of the horrible things this doctor did and said. He smiled and said no, it is ok just how it is. I could not over rule him, not then, not with him looking at me with those eyes, those beautiful eyes.

So maybe there is an acceptance in them. But not me, I could not accept him dying, not then, not that fast no. Would it have been so bad to give me hope? Something to hold onto? Maybe I would have focused more on John as my love than just fighting to keep him here. I do not know.

There are no answers to these questions. I do know you can drive yourself crazy with what ifs, and what I wish I had dones. That is all I have, because it plays over and over like a bad infomercial at 3am. And I cannot stop. Honestly, I do not want to, because it is all I have anymore.

I am fifteen months past losing John. In the beginning, you have a numbness that allows you to exist. Then your memory turns into images like an old silent movie, flickers of images but no detail. Now.. Now I remember details. It is like seeing fire, being burned before, knowing it will hurt, and sticking your hand in anyway. In my mind I inspect his face, his look, what did I miss, what could I have done to save him. There has to be something I missed.
Of course what will happen If I find it… the it that would have saved him. I look, but in my mind, I know I will never survive it if I find it, if there was a way to save him and I could not.

I still wear my rings, I will wear them until I die, I like the feeling of them on my hand, I remember his touch putting it there, I do not want to loose that, ever.

I scream with my mouth closed, I weep with dry eyes, because the fact is that not only is my heart broken, but my very soul is broken. You may not see it, but I feel it very day, with every fiber of my being.

I love you John, I cannot do this without you, I do not want to.
As always
One Breath, one-step, one day at a time

Comments for If You had a Choice

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Jul 26, 2011
second letter to persons to whom i can actually relate to.
by: basil/goldcoast/aust.

do you know, one morning, my beloved "little noddy" as i affectionately called her, came up to me and wrapped herself around me-almost-panicstricken and said "basil!, whatever you do, please promise me that you wont go before me". i am now crying as i type this letter, because her utterance just about tore my heart out. i re-assured her to the best of my ability, i would be here for her always. as per my first letter ,i had made mention of being her carer for in-home dialysis. she was what you might refer to as being in the delicate category. as time progressed, i suppose i sub-consciously prepared myself for her passing, this was usually in the morning when i would wake her for coffee, that this thought was at its most prominent in my thoughts, however god sent the angels for her quite unexpectedly on a sunday afternoon. she had suffered a silent heart attack. next morning [i do not recall anything that night], was the start of a rollercoaster ride that no-one or any thing could have prepared me for. i actually can truthfully say i thought i had entered another dimension where i was not certain what was real or not anymore. i still cry everyday for denise and probably continue to do so. the highs and lows are both such deceptive emotions and they never seem to stop toying with your feelings. it has been seven months now and the days and nights are still just as long. as i have read in so many of your postings --you-yourselves seem to be the most benefit to each other of all. my supporters seem to think my grieving time is over now, but if they only knew .. the best medicine for the "pain of the grief" is a silent-heartfelt embrace/hug call it what you will,this act requires no words to pass between you.

Jul 10, 2011
by: Donna

This is my first time here and I am stunned to hear everyone say the things I am feeling. I lost Jerrie May 17, 2011 after a 9 month battle with cancer. I don't know how to live without him anymore. I wouldn't have missed loving him. He enriched my life so much. I'm not sure how I've made it this far, and obviously I have so much farther to go. I don't want to do this without him.

Jul 07, 2011
Life after death
by: Anonymous


Sometimes my mind will wander back to the days when Paul had his surgery. I never even considered that he would not come back the same, even though it was brain surgery for an aneurysm.

I do think that it was 3 years ago Sept.9,2008.
I do remember that it has been 3 years since I saw the old Paul. I will not let my mind go over the details of the surgery and recovery for long. It hurts as much as his death. It was an injustice somehow.

But as they say whoever said life was fair? I cannot turn back the clock and it is hard but I try to (sometimes) lead the life that I feel that I am supposed to in his absence.

My God, even after all this time I still need to take things one breath,one step at a time...

Jul 07, 2011
by: Yvonne

Oh Zoe-I come to this site to lean on all of you because I don't have the strength to do it myself. You all understand and we understand where you are. I wouldn't give up a minute of what I had with Roger so we all know the choice was right. But God the pain is so bad. Our loss is so great. Do you know what I get. If it isn't get over it-it is thousands of women are going through what you are. Gosh, thanks, that really makes me feel good. No! hold on to those dreams and count your blessings for having such a great guy I DO!! But I know the pain I know the what if's and nothing seems to help right now. We care!
We understand!

Jul 07, 2011
If you had a choice
by: M Mack


Everything you mention in your writings are feelings we all have in common. We go along day to day longing, questioning, and wanting what we know we cannot change or have anymore. We wonder if we did the right thing, what we could have done different, what may have changed the final outcome. I wish the doctors you were dealing with had a much more comforting bedside manner. I would have flipped out with that type of scenario. Its understandable that they do need to distance themselves at some point however, they should be able to show understanding and some compassion. Do your best not to blame yourself, or anyone for what happened. Your question..... if you had a choice? I would have to say yes, I would do it all over again with a few minor adjustments. I have been emotionally and sometimes physically sick with this grief. It will be a year July 23rd and as this date approaches, I constantly relive our life together. I miss him so much it hurts and the only thing that really keeps me going is knowing we will be together again one day. I read everything I can get online about people who are gifted, channel the dead. There are so many blogs online about the afterlife and I find it has given me some level of comfort knowing he is around me at times, especially when Im having a very bad day. So I'll wait until my time comes when I can be with him for eternity. Please keep writing because letting it all out is therapeutic. We are always here to listen and hopefully we are helping in some way. Thinking of you and will remember you in my prayers, which also help me to deal with this. Take care and work on feeling better.

Jul 07, 2011
My choice
by: Judy

"Our lives are better left to chance....I could have missed the pain but I'd have to miss the dance." Garth Brooks in "The Dance"

I would not have missed one minute of my life with Barry, pain and all. The price of loving is to risk that at some point there will be pain and /or unhappiness. That is life.

Be well and know you are not alone.


Jul 07, 2011
If you had a choice
by: jules

Zoe - if I had a choice, I would not be in the situation I am in now, my John would be here with me still. We would be doing what we always wanted to do - travel endlessly around this beautiful country of ours in our caravan. Instead I am on my own, making my own life, the best way I know how, making plans to travel on my own, making new friends, getting new interests.

I know that this is what John would have expected me to do - in our life I was the outgoing one, the one who joined organisations, who went out and made new friends, so this is what I am doing.

So, I play my new sport of lawn bowls, play squash, volunteer at the local visitors information centre, help out at the bowling club when we have busloads of visitors booked for lunch etc.

I want to be with John, yes, but in this life, not where he is - this is my life, I am living it to the best of my ability, I am near my daughter and her family, which makes me feel loved and happy.

Still, each and every day - one step, one breath
take care

Jul 07, 2011
the Choices that are made
by: Patricia From Las Vegas

After my posting I saw yours. I commend you for your strength and fight. I came home to find my Billy already gone. CPR and no amount of screaming and yelling I was going to kill him myself if he died would or could change what was to be. June 21st was my 1 year mark. I use the word mark because its not an anniversary, birthday or celebration. Life goes on but were suspended in time forever turning into ourselves in a never ending vortex of time. Time has stopped for us. How we survive I don't know because I'm still lost. All I can say is ~ I have a hand out to you, if you ever need it, grab hold ~
1 step, 1 breath at a time ~ 1 year

Jul 06, 2011
My Choice Would Be......
by: TrishJ

I have been crying and down in the dumps for three days. For some reason the 4th was not good for me. Joe was always the king of the BBQ. He loved to put anything in the grill. Last year he was still here. He was very ill but grilling as usual. My heart is broken and I don't see it mending any time soon. I almost don't care if it never does. I'll learn to live with it as time goes by.

I'm with you Zoe. My choice would be YES!! I would do it all over again knowing I would lose my husband too soon. I'm a widow at age 58. I'm not really young ~ not ready for social security yet ~ I've got a lot of energy and spend a lot of it grieving for my husband.

It's been 7 months for me. I still have no idea where my life is headed. I have no desire to do anything. I still haven't made it through a day where I don't spend at least 1/2 hour crying.
I had some issues with doctors caring for Joe. I know they have to professionally distance themselves from any feeling but they can be so cold and cruel. One doctor said to my husband, "Wow...you sure are in a good mood for someone who is dying." The jerk! At that point he had just been placed on the UNOS list. My husband stayed positive until the last moment.

I miss him so much I can't stand it. At night I picture myself curling up to his back. I cry myself to sleep, sleep fitfully for about 4 hours, awaken to start it all over again. It is a state of constant pain. I think I have days when I'm better able to block it our than others. Those are my good days.

We're all in this together. Sisters in grief. The only people who understand the pain are those who are also experiencing it. I hate it when people say, "I understand." No they don't.
We'll hang in here and keep trying. One breath, one step at a time.

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