When I was writing my book, I didn’t know it would become a book. I was struggling to get through each day and writing was something I loved to do, although the subject was my husband’s illness. We would get up every morning and face one awful day after another, him pale and quiet, me bustling and frantic. I tried not to show the “frantic,” but it bled through, just like his cancer. There was a wall between us; I struggle what to call it. Each brick was built of fear and isolation. He could not understand my rage at God and I could not understand his stoicism. He was a devout man, a believer in scripture. He had a mystical bent, but not nearly as strong as mine. For my part, spiritual teachings were not enough to lash me to the deck of the sinking ship; I needed my fear and anger to keep me going, or so it would seem.
He always let me rage when he saw I needed it as a safety valve. One day in particular I remember crying in great heaving spasms while he looked on in silent compassion. He was leaving me, damn it, and that was not okay, not okay at all. I had such a load to carry, but so did he. Which was worse, his death or my fear of his death? Both seemed inevitable. I never once thought of giving up, of becoming a drunk or having a breakdown. I was made of stronger stuff. I was still his “Angel,” no matter what. Some of the bricks in his wall were made of a fanatical devotion to me; he did not want to cry in front of me. He did cry with the doctor the day he got his diagnosis, but I was not there.
One day I forced him to weep. “How can you not cry when we are being separated?” I said to him. “How can you not?” And the tears came. I sat there with the chasm of death growing larger by the day as his once six-foot-four frame grew smaller. By the time the ambulance carrying us to hospice arrived, he was light as a feather. They put him in a wheelchair and I rolled him into the hospice sitting room. It was Christmas and there were decorations galore. Fake Christmas trees and fake angels. As I write this, my heart still breaks. I live with this gift of sorrow and give it away wrapped in words as fake as everything else. Only love is real.
I tell our story in my book, LIFE WITH A HOLE IN IT: That’s How The Light Gets In. Bob would be happy if you bought a copy to support my ongoing work as a writer. The light of my passion keeps me going; it was what he wanted. I will personally sign a copy if you send me an email or facebook message or you can find it here: