Mike died of cancer at age 30.
My husband, Mike, died of cancer when he was 30 years old. I was 26. Our daughter was 7. He died in Feb 1978. Yes, 1978. I am telling my story now because I didn't deal with my grief then. How do you deal with it after almost 34 years? Can you do this after so much time has passed? You see, I didn't want to face it. I didn't want to feel the pain. Intellectually, I knew he was gone and never coming back. I had a 7 year old daughter to take care of, but I never shared my grief with her and she didn't share her grief with me. In reality, we both needed grief counseling, but no one suggested it. She was sad. I was sad. Of course! Her father and my husband had just died. It was normal to be sad. But, just because it was normal, doesn't mean we didn't need help.
Mike was sick with cancer for 2 years before he died. While that might imply that it was "anticipatory grief", I'm not sure it was. I was surely frightened of the idea of him dying, but I held out hope that he wouldn't die until very close to the end. We finally did have time to say goodbye the night before he died. I told him I would be okay and that I would take care of our daughter and he encourage me to remarry. In fact, he encouraged me to remarry very soon.
After he died, I was in shock for a few weeks. Then I started dating. Within 6 weeks I had my first date with my current husband, Larry, and Larry and I were married within 11 months after Mike died. This might seem shocking to some. It helps to remember that I was 26 years old. But I didn't escape the grief. In fact, I cried on Larry's shoulder during our courtship and into our marriage. It doesn't happen as often now, but I'm still crying on Larry's shoulder.
There's much more to the story, but I need to diverge a bit at this point. My ex-sister-in-law was recently diagnosed with cancer. The cancer has spread. They removed several organs, but they weren't able to remove all the cancer. She will have chemo and the family is hopeful that it can be controlled. It doesn't sound hopeful to me. Last week I was feeling so much anger. Now I mostly feel sad. I couldn't figure out why I was so angry. But, of course, I was so angry after Mike died. I was angry for years! And so it was my "go-to" emotion after hearing about my sister-in-law. We were all young together. Mike died. And now she is very sick with cancer. And I can't think about this without crying.