Today I lost my husband, my soulmate, my puzzle piece. We’d been together for thirteen wonderful years. His death wasn’t a surprise. He’d been sick for almost a year with cancer. Heck, this wasn’t even his first bout with the disease, but his second. We’d tried everything possible until he was so weak, any more treatments would kill him sooner rather than later. Death with dignity at home and surrounded by family and friends was his choice and mine.
I didn’t realize how hard keeping that promise was going to be. I’m a physician trained to do no harm, to help, to care. Watching the person I love die has hit me harder than I had even imagined (and I had imagined the worst). I found myself biting back the urge to yell at him for giving up, even though I knew he hadn’t. I found myself biting back the urge to make him swallow pills even though I knew they wouldn’t prolong his life, nor help with his pain. He should take his thyroid medication right? I found myself biting back the urge to do something, anything to make this better. I found myself battling the urge to take him to the hospital and get a few more days with him.
Had I done any of those things, I would have been wrong. His wishes, his life, his dignity wre worth more than my selfish desires. I wanted my husband to pass in the manner he wished and for him to be as comfortable as possible. And it killed me a little bit inside to watch. Yet at the same time, I saw the gratitude in his eyes as he rested and the peace on his face after he said goodbye and could stop fighting and finally rest.
I’m not writing this as a dirge to my husband but instead as a celebration of the wonderful life and times I’ve shared with him. From the days after we met and he slipped cinnamon buns into my office but was too shy to let me know they came from him. To our first date in which I dressed for a bicycle ride and my husband came in his leathers on his Honda 600 motorbike. I got to admit, it was pretty hot. From our first trip together, his first taste of sushi and all the incredible times. To the look on his face the day our son was born. We packed a lifetime of love into our years together and I’ve been blessed to be his wife.
Eric is my inspiration in my life and my career. He is the voice in my head that told me I could accomplish anything. Make sure to hold your loved ones close and cherish the time you have together because life can sometimes kick you in the teeth and steal the best of us away. Take it from me and live life to its fullest.
Today I lost my husband but I refuse to let that define our time together. I will cherish the moments we have had together and look forward to seeing him again in Heaven.
Thank you for all your support.