Five Years Later—An Unpublished Essay From LIFE WITH A HOLE IN IT

I think I will post some essays that didn’t make it into LIFE WITH A HOLE IN IT. I made an editorial decision to end the book at the time of Bob’s death. But you know me; I kept writing. Here is a look back to 2009:

Five Years Later

It’s been ten years since Bob’s diagnosis. Five years of caregiving, five years of grief and rebirth. I love him more now than ever, because personalities get in the way of love. How do you irritate me? Let me count the ways. Before we made love, he would take a hot, soaking bath and I would lie there in bed with smoke coming out of my ears. And that’s the only time he told me I was beautiful. But he loved me with an everlasting love—one that would make him prolong his suffering to care for me for just another day. He chewed ice, snored and was late for dinner. In spite of that, he always adored and protected me.

I was a neat freak, a nag, and inclined to jealousy. In spite of that, I looked up to him, thought he smelled nice and realized that he was brave beyond measure. Our marriage was a seesaw, a predicament and a beautiful transcendent journey. If you have read all the essays in this book, you have also read between the lines. If you can’t do that, you will never come to love.

How did I provoke him? The ways are legion. I nagged him incessantly, used him as a chauffeur instead of learning to navigate the freeways myself, assured him he was the worst gift giver that ever took birth. He went to Puerto Rico and brought me back a huge, leather seal of the state. He once gave me a see-through nightie for my birthday that I opened in front of the kids. I went ballistic about that for some reason.

And then cancer came and he had a port installed in his chest for the chemo and I got a to-do list that was a yard long. He went crazy and I fell headlong into hell. And still we loved each other and grieved every single day. He wouldn’t talk about his approaching death and I wanted him to. I finally forced him to cry because until he did, nothing seemed real. His tears were proof that we were not above the law of life and death. They proved that we were love incarnate. Both proofs were necessary.

Consider ordering LIFE WITH A HOLE IN IT. Bob Woodyard would be so proud. Just click on the book icon to the right.


  1. It is after much wandering the present is found.Not necessarily as the other may insist by a conscious(or forcible?) shift.The roads that have passed can definitely give a deep and ingrained flavour. That perhaps is the most original and communicable gift one can give to this moment.


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