If You had a Choice
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.
One Breath, one-step, one day at a time