My husband Frank passed away on Christmas Eve; exactly 3 years to the day he was first diagnosed with a brain tumor. As I sat and remembered every step of his cancer illness, I was determined to remember what cancer taught us. Yes, there are life lessons if we listen with our open hearts.
They say life is fragile and unpredictable, but I never knew what that really meant until I experienced it. We were caught off guard -- powerless to stop what was happening. It was brain cancer, for which there is no cure.
We navigated dark, winding, zigzagging, hilly roads, yet we were never alone. We suffered through countless brain surgeries and soon realized that recovery is anything but linear and setbacks are the norm.
When you were discouraged and struggling, I tried to find kind words and reassurances that would make you feel better.
When I was tired, beaten down and defeated, your smile lifted my spirits because your use of words, while probably still in your mind, couldn’t leave your lips.
When my own pain was too much to bear and led to numbness, your courage inspired me. Throughout it all, I discovered a side of you I’d never met before. I was able to see a sliver of light in that tiny room that held us captive during our darkest hours.
We persevered with each step and every day, week and month-- and then, year by year. Eventually you were able to walk well enough so that we could go out for a few romantic dinners. How fresh and vivid the memory is of how you held my hand, only releasing it when dinner was served. You regained enough speech to communicate with me temporarily. Even though it was difficult, those words & attempts at conversation warmed my heart, as simple as they were. And yes, chit chat took on a new meaning.
We reclaimed some joy and normalcy. We had so many ideas for life, the future, but it was not to be. They are beautiful memories frozen in time, which will last my lifetime without you. Yes, in difficult times, I always carry something beautiful Inside, and that something is you.
What is something you learned from your cancer experience that you think of most often? Tell us in the comments below