My husband died three days ago. It was our tenth wedding anniversary. Originally we were supposed to marry on May 28th 2005, which would have marked 2 years from the day we first met. We had to change our wedding date so my late mother's sister could be there. Maybe he would have lived another five days if we had stuck to the original date.
He was only 60 years old. He was healthy, a runner, he should have lived longer. We had plans. We thought we had a future.
He was brilliant. Described by a friend as uncannily brilliant. He knew things. Secrets he took to his grave.
He was the one who had always chastised me for not having a Plan B when I started a project. But he was not prepared to die. He believed that if he prepared for death it would be admitting it could best him.
He did not believe he would die because he had beaten almost every obstacle he faced in life through tenacity, research and intellect. But death would not be cheated, and cancer devoured him. My son and I watched him wither to a wisp of the man he once was. He was never a big man, he was tall and lean with arms that were stronger than they looked. Watching the arms that had once held me turn to bones with a thin layer of skin clinging to them was the second hardest thing I have done. The hardest was telling him it was OK to leave us. That we would go on after he died.
Cancer stole my son's childhood. It took away a father who never got the chance to teach him how to play baseball, or drive a car, or shave.
Cancer stole my husband's voice. For years we talked. I remember having philosophical conversations that could last for hours or even days about life, humanity, ethics and morals. He was unwaveringly rational in his approach whereas I was consistently emotional. It made life interesting. When his health took a turn for the worse, he stopped talking. As time went on and the various protocols and therapies did not work, he stopped eating meals with us. When his legs got too weak, he stopped going for walks. When he got too tired, he stopped caring.
Cancer stole my husbands body and now it will die because it has nowhere to live. But it could not steal his spirit. Just before he descended into a coma he turned to the doctor and said, "time to send in the clowns". Shortly after midnight I wished him a happy anniversary. An hour later I was dreaming of baseball when I got the call that he was taking his last breaths. I know it was him telling me goodbye. The next morning I felt him caress my back. I know he was telling me he still loved me.
I know he chose to die on our anniversary to tell me that it is time to move on.