I don’t want this evening to happen. And, of course, as so often in life, resistance (to this or anything else) is futile.
This evening marks one week since Handsome Husband died. I’ve struggled in this past week. Struggled a lot. Not with the pain, because there is a lack of pain. Same with sadness. There is no sadness yet. The only word I know to describe what is happening in me is a whole body experience of disorientation. And some anger. Yes, there is definitely some anger that I’ve been working my way through. It isn’t because of what you might expect-you know, the whole why did he die and leave me thing. That would be easy for me to get figured.
I don’t have to speak the obvious-that Handsome Husband and I loved each other passionately. We did. Still do. That breeds a grief that sits on the other side of the see-saw: intense and painful. When I start feeling again, that is.
(Before reading further, I want to tell you, dear readers, that once again, I’ve struggled with being completely honest here. We’d all like to think, I think, that this whole Handsome Husband dying thing, was nothing but beautiful and that real life didn’t continue to happen in the midst of it, and that just ain’t so, and you know in your hearts that it couldn’t have been as perfect as it seemed. Well, the big picture was perfect in so many ways, but, hey, we’re all humans here, so let’s get on with it).
No, my anger has to do with a decision he made while ill, without consulting me. Simply put, he designated his daughter as his medical advocate. Going against what he and I had spoken about historically, going against what he and I spoke about when he was first in the hospital. There was no rhyme or reason to it, at least none that I ever heard. I only realized what was happening a day or so into it, and I addressed it with his daughter. No, I never went to him and discussed it. He was dying, for god’s sake and I didn’t want to agitate him at a time when he was already struggling. So I suspect there is also self-directed anger in this mix. Why did I let such an important thing just go by the wayside, is what I ask myself. Were he a healthy man I would have planted myself in front of him and asked what the fuck he meant by doing such a thing without having discussion with me. But he wasn’t a healthy man. And I didn’t.
It caused me suffering in his last weeks, taking a backseat. I felt supplanted, I felt infringed upon, I felt un-trusted, I felt incompetent, I felt un-needed, I felt so many “uns”. At the same time, I realized that perhaps “this” was happening because he had things he needed to work through with his daughter. (And, fyi, I don’t fault her for taking up her dad’s request). He’d oftentimes through the years felt frustrated in his relationship with her, not in an angry way but in an I love her so much how do I connect with her way. His divorce from her mother had been a standard ugly divorce and he fought to maintain a connection and do what was not only right for his daughter, but what was in his heart. This time of his illness, having his daughter’s undivided attention, was, I think, a jewel to his heart and helped him die with a sense of “business finished.”
Lest anyone want to confer sainthood on me-don’t. From the time of Handsome Husband’s hospitalization, through the time we called hospice, to his death, my every breath was about ensuring that he was surrounded by, and immersed in, love. I wrote about that frequently, remember? So in the midst of the uncertainty and anger created by this issue, I struggled to see the bigger picture. This was about what he needed, not what I wanted, right? I wanted his physically narrowed world to be filled with the people he loved, and the connections that he’d striven to build throughout his life. And that happened. And I’m glad it did. I know, I knew, that I could have stepped in very easily and changed the entire scenario of what happened, and how it happened. I could have discussed it with him, in spite of everything. And, if the discussion couldn’t happen, I could have just stepped in, period, and made it happen the way we’d agreed. I said the words out loud to myself that I wouldn’t do that. There were so many times I consciously stepped back and changed my energy, going all Zen, with a sense of, if not humor, then acceptance of what needed to be. Remember the Shakespeare quote about the world being a stage and we are all but players, etc? My mantra during this whole shitty, fucking, mess. Each person who attended this play of the “Last Days of Handsome Husband” had a part, and each played out his/her assigned parts, according to what was necessary to my husband’s life. I firmly believed that. I believe it still. And Handsome Husband’s heart needed the healing of the love from his daughter.
But I’m left feeling cheated. Time. I wanted more time with him. We’ve spent the last almost 4 years no more than 2 feet across most days and nights, riding in our car, sleeping together in bed, hiking together, talking. These last 3 weeks we were surrounded by people and had very little time together and I grieve that. I also realize that I don’t know, and will never know, the hows and the whys of his particular request, how it was worded, how it was translated. I want to know those things, but he’s gone and I can’t have that conversation with him. So I’m struggling to remind myself that all that matters is that he and I loved each other, we had an incredible life together, and that shit happens. Well, first of all, the cancer was shit, but, within that, the decision was shit, and we’d have a go-round between us if he were still, you know…here. He got away with this one, without having to take responsibility for turning my world upside down.
He’s free and clear somewhere, tap-dancing through the tulips for all I know. (Handsome Husband and tap-dancing, now there’s a picture). I’m here, raging and searching and spinning and wondering, in my own dance. There’s no satisfactory answer to this. How can there be, without that discussion with him? Let go let go let go. And repeat.
But, really, how much of a fucking saint was I? (sense of humor here, folks, sense of humor, which has been sadly lacking in me of late). And ain’t he lucky that I’m the woman I am? He and I are going to have some words when we meet again.