The Last Lesson

I have written a book that took place in the depths of my soul. Inwardly I was breaking. Outwardly I was shaking, trying to hold everything in place. It felt like planets were falling from the sky and I was either dodging them or trying to hold them up. It was a miserable, miserable descent into hell. All of the teachings flew in my face and mocked me, or so it seemed.

I had been raised to be a good little girl and I did my best to keep up the facade. Your husband is dying. Be a good little wife. Go with him to the doctor, take over the jobs he used to do, continue to maintain a good home and never let ‘em see you sweat. I didn’t.

Writing quickly became my salvation. I knew how to write. I did not know how to watch a fatal disease unfold in front of my eyes and sleep in my bed every night. For I was nurse as well as wife. Towards the end he was my child and I was his parent. But I could write.

I was an embedded reporter from the chemo room. I sat patiently there for hours while Bob was hooked up to an IV. I loved the courage of the patients and their families. I realized I was more practical than I gave myself credit for. The only thing that really stymied me was driving. Some days I would have to let Bob off on the ground floor and then try and find a parking spot in a crowded garage. One time I just couldn’t remember where I left the car and the security guard has to put us in his van and drive us around until I said “Oh, there it is.” And yet I was a force of nature 7 days a week. Of course I was exhausted. In my despair one day I cried out to Bob, “You would never take as good care of me as I am taking of you!” It was the truth but it was coming from a very dark place. I was losing myself as well as him.

I stood by him and wrote. I watched him be valiant. I listened to his stories of childhood because he needed to sum up his life. So we sat at the kitchen table and talked, our son listening with a breaking heart.

Today I had an earth-shaking cry. It did me so much good. I cried for every moment of those five years. I cried for the hard ways in which I have learned my lessons. Yesterday a plumber treated me like a nutcase for telling him he had installed my bath tub faucets backwards. That is what brought on the tears. He is a jerk, but he led me to the place I needed to go.

I know how to write. I know how to express things in an intuitive straightforward way. I am not sure I know how to love myself. That is the last lesson and the hardest.

If you enjoy my writing, please order a copy of LIFE WITH A HOLE IN IT: That’s How The Light Gets In.
It can be ordered by clicking on the book image.

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