Anniversary

I’m a little depressed this morning and I’ve been trying to figure out why. I think now, I know the answer. The two year anniversary of my wife’s death is just a few days away, and this has got me down. I think of her often, at least every day, sometimes more. But this anniversary has got me thinking about all the changes that have happened since she got sick. None of the things that happened because of her illness were welcomed, however some of them have turned out alright. This is what I’ve been thinking about.

As soon as we found out she had cancer, she started chemo treatment. As far as that goes, it went pretty well. The only real side effects were losing her hair and being tired. She took a leave from work to do the six months of treatment. Losing her hair was devastating. She had thick, long, lustrous red hair, of which she was very proud. A statement of her personality, her individuality, her stubborn determination to prove to the world things only she knew were important. After shaving her head to prevent the fallout, I had her shave my own. I wanted to join with her in this un-welcomed adventure as much as possible. It only took eight months from discovery until the cancer took her life. Those months consisted of doctors, nurses, lab people, drugs, treatments, clinics, hospitals, friends, family, funeral directors, and a funeral. It’s all such a blur that I have a hard time picking out individual moments.

I tried to go back to work after all that and found I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t concentrate on my job, nothing about it was right anymore, nothing about it was good. So one day I called my boss and told her I wasn’t coming back. I know she wasn’t happy with me, but that goes along with being in charge. I became just one more thing she’d have to deal with. Now it became my job to deal with these changes the best I could. No one prepares you for losing a loved one. There’s no instruction book. Kind of like raising children. You’re doing it, day after day but when you look at it you can’t understand how you did it. I don’t know where the inner strength came from and I still don’t know why some days I don’t just collapse. I have known people who suffered the loss of their spouse and a year later they were dating and on their way to getting re-married. I just, I can’t even imagine that.

I have found that when great amounts of change are thrust upon me I somehow find a way to deal with it. I don’t know any other way. I usually plow through and then look back and wonder how I did that. Most times there’s no answer. I’ve been asked how I handled the stress. Honestly, I don’t know. I wish I could write a book to help others deal with losing their loved ones but I wouldn’t have enough material for a single page. I made a few podcasts on the subject but when I listened to them I realized they didn’t really have that much content, not much to help anyone. So this is where my head is at today. Thinking about the last two years and asking how I managed. And I get no answers. You can say all kinds of things like, stamina, inner strength, conviction and it’s all just bullshit because some days I feel like falling apart. Where’s the inner strength on days like that?

My wife Ann, had depression. She had hopeless days when nothing felt like it would ever get better. I don’t have those. I always somehow know that things will improve, but I don’t know how I know that, I just always have. So this too shall pass. I may take a break from writing while this anniversary passes and I may just write like a maniac. I’m not sure how this will go. But I’ll leave you with a picture of Ann and I hope it brightens your day.

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An Evening

Fluttering leaves of Aspen trees,
applause to the wind.

Ripples of water sparkle and flash.
Cigar smoke keeps the bugs at bay.

Memories of a girl, a long past love affair,
torrid and short.

A smoky room, mattress on the floor,
the smell of us.

Evening light with spirea in bloom
and shadows long upon the ground.