Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Tonight I needed something different. I have been feeling so down today, and really looked forward to coming home from work so that I could lay down and give in to my emotions. Being that I come home to my kids, and various pets, my plan didn't go exactly as planned, but I did eventually have the opportunity to enter my bedroom, and close the door behind me.

I needed to get in touch with why I am feeling so down. The tears came naturally, but I sensed there were reasons ingrained in my soul as to why I needed this time to acquiesce. After laying quietly on my bed I turned to a book on my shelf. It was sitting right below Michael's urn, which at the time was being cradled by my hands. It was a book called Michael's Journey, a printed version of my Caring Bridge blog from our journey through cancer. I have not looked at this since Michael died. I didn't have the strength of heart to go there, yet today I knew it was what I needed.

I turned to the entries that were dated around this time two years ago. It was a time when we were heading into Michael's final days. My words were quite straight forward in that I needed to quickly inform our friends and family about the progression of Michael's tumor. My words were also inspired by the love I had for Michael, and for the gentle ways he was still communicating his love for me. I laid there reading each entry, taking time to soak in each word with purpose. I kept reading until I got to that final day when I needed to let everyone know that he had departed.

Surprisingly, these words are giving me comfort right now. Yes, they were hard to read, and brought back emotions from a very intense period in our journey together. Yet, they provided me with the answers I was looking for tonight. I needed to know why my body and soul are struggling with such despair.

I went through so much during those days. How could I not find myself reliving those emotions during this time of year? I was living in the final days of almost two years of struggle. I was working overtime to care for my dying husband. And, I was taking in each moment, knowing that it could be our last moment together.

As many of you know, Michael lived on for almost another month from this time two years ago. It was both horrific and endearing. I was in pain, and filled with immense love. I was on overload. No wonder my heart has been feeling so heavy.

I think back on that time period now, and feel so blessed to be the one to care for Michael in his final days. I feel like I was somehow chosen to help prepare him to exit this world, and to send him off knowing that he was loved with all my heart. I can still picture his trusting face, and his eyes that would follow my every move at that time. He surrendered all to me, knowing that I would give him all that he needed. I surrendered to him, knowing that he would always be there for me.

I am a very fortunate man. I found love, and love found me. It came in the form of Michael. The sweetest man I've ever know.


  1. It is amazing how your body remembers these times. There have been so many times that I've experienced an unexplained funk...unexplained until I realized it was a certain time of year that triggered something about my grief. Sending hugs your way for the next month as you relive these memories.

  2. These past few weeks, it is as though there is a parallel thing happening in my mind. There is the day to day life working on the house restoration project, and on the periphery is an awareness that this month three years ago, we were struggling through the final few weeks of Don's life as we dealt with what we knew to be his impending death after the last of the chemo regimens failed. As I work on the place, I find my thoughts wandering into a no man's land - remembering conversations, doctor's appointments, difficult decisions that no one should have to make. Periodically, it is like waking from a dream to notice the sunlight, birdsong and forest around me. It is all strange and bittersweet. It hurts to remember much of what happened, but I would not change a thing. Like you, my heart has been feeling heavy, but at the same time, I feel fortunate to have loved Don, and to have been there for him. Be well, Dan.

  3. i never cease to be be amazed at what our bodies know before our heads do. We've all been through so much, and seeing you, and so many of us all together in one room brought that home to me in ways I am still struggling with, days later. love.

  4. I call these heart memories, which many times are stronger than brain memories. And they can send me to my knees or embrace me so tightly that I can feel him. Love and hugs to you.

  5. Thank you for sharing Dan.

    I understand your pain, I lost my Husband Steve to a GBM on June 15th this year. I have many of these anniversaries to come and I am not looking forward to them, who would?

    Reading about how you are coping gives me hope that I too will be able to cope as these times approach and,for that hope, I thank you.

    Sending lots of love and huge man hugs to ease your pain, Mark xxx

  6. Mark, I am so sorry that you have also had to go through this. Losing our spouses is likely the hardest thing we will have gone through. It has certainly been both painful and life changing for me.

    I appreciate the huge man hugs, as living life without our husbands means that hugs are now quite infrequent. There is so much that we now go without. I feel a real affinity to anyone who has lost their spouse to a GBM, as we have common experiences that have brought us here.

    Be patient with yourself, and with this journey. Reach out through the blog whenever you need support.