Three weeks, again~

Three weeks.   Its’ been three weeks for everyone in the world and each and every person in this world had their three weeks play out according to their own personal current events.

My three weeks, as of last night at 11:21, was three weeks since my beloved Handsome Husband died.  Three weeks since my world, and the world of our kids, changed forever.  And forever.  Each Sunday night for all of us, at that particular hour, for a while to come, will bring a sense of heightened adrenalin, as if we are back in Odyssey Hospice, watching this man, who changed all of our lives over 23 years ago, breathe higher and higher until there was no place for more breath to live, and his final out breath happened, and he was no more.

I’ve had so much anger in these three weeks, over big things and small things.  Some of the anger was, I believe, completely justifiable, though it might more accurately be called hurt, at how some of the events around his death played out.  That hurt is still there, more evident now than the anger.  But mostly the anger is gone, and the crushing grief has smashed through and into, my body, my heart and my soul.

I went to a bereavement support group, I went to a Tai Chi class, I’ve made myself go out, out of this place we rented that is nothing but a place of nerve-tingling pain for me.  Out into where people are and where I have no interest being.  Over to Joshua Tree National Park, where Handsome Husband and I wanted to go.  And yes, I even got out of the car, with the intent of hiking and maybe climbing some of the easier rock formations, thinking that maybe I’d find him there.  He wasn’t there and I didn’t stay long at all.  There was no meaning to being there, without him to share the experience with me, so I returned to the car, filled with both pain and numbness, and came back to this painful place where I pretty much just wander from room to room, picturing him in whatever room I happen to be.  And not picturing him in a good way because we had no “good ways” from the time we arrived.  There was pain, and worry, and unknowing and frustration and effort and futile attempts to allay what we thought was going on with him.

And all the while it was cancer.  Oh blessed hindsight that now signals me that of course it was his cancer returned.  How obviously it had returned.  And the ungodly pain he was in, though he masked it well.    Hindsight is an evil exercise so I shut my brain down when it creeps in.  Don’t go there, don’t go there, don’t go there, I chant to myself.  Because if I consider the ungodly pain he carried, it becomes an ungodly pain for me, that I carry for him, and the pain morphs into a pain that is bigger than our love and that is unsustainable for me.

Three weeks.  No time at all but more than a lifetime.  Every emotion that beats through my body is overwhelming now, because every emotion translates into crushing grief from what happened, how it happened, that it happened and that my world will never be the same for me without him in it.

I had Handsome Husband for 24 years.  For 23 of those years we were married.  He had 1 child, I had 3. We celebrated our 5 year anniversary with a renewal of vows.  Our 23rd anniversary we celebrated with a slow dance at the side of the road in Death Valley as the sun set and Chicago played for us on my IPOD.  He died 1 month before our 4 years on the road anniversary.  For almost 4 years we sat no more than 2 feet across from one another in our Ford Escape.  2 hearts, mine and his, figuring out our new world.  2 hearts, so closely entwined in the most loving way.  Not perfectly figured out, this traveling world, but always with love.

Handsome Husband loved numbers, frequently adding up the numbers of parks we visited, or military bases or hotels where we stayed, the numbers of miles we traveled.  Numbers.  They carry within them the history of a person’s life.  They mean everything and, ultimately, they mean nothing.

October 16, 1952  (his birth date).  October 18, 1990 (our marriage date).  May 29, 2009 (we became Happily Homeless).  September 2010 (cancer)  October, 2011 (final surgery).  March, 2013 (cancer returns)  April 21, the Day.   11:21 pm, the Time.   May 12.  11:21 pm.  3 weeks.

Inside of those numbers is his life, my life, our life together.  Inside those numbers lie so many broken hearts.




5 thoughts on “Three weeks, again~

  1. i feel so bad for you. I don’t want to pry, but I have a very close friend who had a lung cancer and was getting a double radiation and in August he had surgery. I am not sure how far his cancer had progressed, but apparently he has a lumps on spline. His last marriage left him broke so that he doesn’t even have money to see a specialist. I told him that maybe he could arrange a pay scale plan. He works 80 hours week two jobs. What chances are there that this thing will not return. I heard from many people that lung cancer is detrimental. If you feel like writing I would like to get yourinputon that. He is such a nice guy, but I think under that upbeat attitude is lot of pain. He paid for his last wife bariatric surgery, and two years later she went back to her boyfriend. So the same month when his surgery was performed he got his divorce. She also withdraw his pension in lump some, so now he is left with nothing. He was a policeman. She is on Facebook showing off her new figure. I couldn’t help, so I asked her what did she do with extra 50 lbs of skin, if she donated it to a center for burn victims.

    This is all for now. Only if you feel like writing if not I will understand. I have an appointment wit a griefcounselortoday, but I think I got as far as I could go. Yesterday I had pretty good day, and I think I became indifferent to my brother, which helps a lot in dealing with mom’s death.

    With love and hugs Maria


    • Maria,
      Cancer has so many qualifiers as to how it affects each person and whether or not they can recover and go into remission. My heart hurts for your friend and what he is going through. Chuck was so fortunate, at least, in that he was surrounded by love as he approached his death. I wish the same, in some way, for your friend.

      I so appreciate your always reaching out to me-you have a good heart. Life is an incredible journey for each of us, and my life was blessed the day you came into it.

  2. I am not sure why I am writing in response to your recent post as I can’t even pretend to imagine what you are going through but yet I felt compelled to reach out and perhaps send a hug from someone who hears the pain in your voice and words and can visualize at least what I would be feeling if I were to have to face the same things you faced and lose the person I love with all my heart. The only comfort I can offer is that they say that with time the pain dulls, the memories will never leave you that if for sure and that is a good thing because you shared so many happy times together and such great love and the Chuck I believe I knew years ago would want you so smile again, to enjoy life again, to love again. I truly hope you are able to find some peace inside and continue to heal, knowing that your paths will cross again sometime in the distant future.

    • Teresa,
      I recall Chuck speaking of you, and I appreciate your reaching out to me.

      I know that Chuck would want me to smile and love life again-he and I had so many conversations about this very thing as we traveled. Never thinking, of course, that it would happen so soon.

      I have to believe that at some point this stabbing pain of losing him will dissipate. In the scheme of grief, that is what happens, I know. At the moment, my heart just isn’t feeling what my intellect knows.

      I appreciate your words of hope and support and I know that Chuck would too~

  3. Alison, I cant begin to tell you how sorry I am for your loss. I’ve followed your journey for many years. This story entitled “three week” spoke to me personally. Back in 2007, it was three weeks from when my mom went into the hospital for some test on her stomach until she died of liver failure. Back in 2001, it was three weeks from when my father was diagnosed with lung cancer until he died. Three weeks. Just three weeks in my ordinary life that proved to be game changing for me and my family. I look at life differently since I lost my mom. I say to myself, if in three weeks I were no longer on this earth, would what I’m stressing about now really matter? The answer is always no. If three weeks went by and I hadn’t reached out to a family member or a friend, would I regret it? The answer is usually yes. Three weeks can seem like the briefest of moments and an eternity all at the same time. Give yourself time. If there is anything that I’ve learned from reading about you over the years, its that you have the strength and the courage to find what you need to be whole again.

Talk to me~

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