Sunday, April 3, 2011

Ugly and Forgiveness

This is post from March 26, 2010
I've been going back to find myself, to ground this experience, to find a way to mark the growth, the good changes and all the challenges I have overcome.
I'm been going back to find courage.

This is what the post said.

“He’s in our thoughts and prayers.”

“We are sending a blanket of love.”

Those are words I read today about a boy, who like Art is

battling his second round of cancer.

He’s doing a better job than Art did

and I’m NOT doing a better job at begin gracious.

Instead, when I read those words of love

And support

Ms. Cynic thinks

“Save your breath!”

“Those good thoughts and prayers

Don’t work.

If they did,

I wouldn’t be writing this column.”

Silly, stupid, people.


That boy died earlier morning on Friday, March 26.

The grief sucked me down its whirlpool, shame followed

And anger was fast on its heels.

Only this time, I bobbed to the surface

Before I got too much water up my nose.

The whirlpool didn’t take me down as far and I am not as disoriented.

I cry because I know where his mom will go.

I know the journey of loss

and the idea of someone I know walking it

Makes me scream myself raw

and punch trees

and crumble to the floor and say

“Why her? Why her?”

Brooks….I’m sorry.

I wanted those silly, stupid people to be right.

I really wish they had been right.


I re-read these words and at first, I feel shame

and then oddly

it is followed by forgiveness.

In the wake of the last few months

I have learned to forgive myself.

To forgive myself for:

not calling his doctor sooner,

for not convincing him to try alternative treatments

for not singing to him the moment he died

for not being too tired on Saturday to visit him so I could have alerted the doctors sooner

for not waiting to hold the memorial service so our friends from across the country could attend

for not kissing him on the lips after he died

for not staying in bed for days and days and days like I really think I should have

for not playing the widow part good enough

for not being more loving to him when he was around the last few months

for not being kinder to stupid people

for trying so hard to please all those around because somehow I felt their attention was unworthy

for it all

for crying too much or not crying enough

for my anger


the list goes on.

In his death, I found my humanity and my imperfections.

In his death, I have discovered that it's not my fault.

In his death, I have discovered myself.


  1. Kim, Thank you so much for this post.

    A friend just recently was diagnosed with advanced cancer. I want to have hope for her, I am piling every little piece of hope I can dig up into her recovery but having been down the darkest road, I fear that other side. It looks so naive now to think one will beat it. I try to remember with cancer - every small victory is the victory. We will all die. It is so cruel for a child to die in that way, when life has not been fully lived.

    Your last paragraph - is one of the reasons I read this blog. To find these truths - these blazing, blinding, I have been there truths that only someone who has lived through it can write.

    Your honesty is so appreciated.

    Thank you

  2. Kim, I think what makes us so angry is how niave people can be and how somehow they do not see that we believed our love one would be the one who beat cancer and that our loves had that kind of hope too. It does not mean anything, because it can go both ways. we have no control of the ultimate endcome. I sometimes also think I wish some of the most well- intentioned people lose their spouse if only for a month or two- so they could feel the pain I feel as a widow. Maybe then they would get it and change their ways, stop complaining about unimportant things and so what is really valuable in life.

  3. Amazing timing (again). As I was taking my Saturday drive in the country yesterday- crying, of course, because Chuck was supposed to be sitting next to me, I was thinking of all the things I did wrong, or didn't do, or should have done. Thank you Kim for reminding me to forgive myself. Who needs the Sunday paper when we have this site?

  4. I had a friend who told me a story of someone who went through much of what Jeff did - oxygen starved brain, coma - but he didn't die. He woke up and ate breakfast two days later. She said "isn't that incredible"?. Yeah...incredible...thanks for sharing. I wanted to scream at her that she was the most insensitive person alive. This same person sells me make-up and she actually brought a make-up order to the funeral of my husband. She handed it to me at the cemetery as we were preparing to walk up to the spot we ultimately burid him. Then she asked me if it was "the right color". I don't remember what I told her then either, but I do know I didn't shriek and scream.

    I'm so sorry that Jeff didn't wake-up, but that doesn't make me sorry that someone did. I only felt it for a bit, but it wasn't real. I forgive myself too.

    Thanks again for the post - it's beautifully written.

  5. I know the feelings, however, it is 26+ months since my husband passed from glioblastoma multiforme, such a terrible brain cancer. The journey, although I knew was hopeless, provided me with determination to remain hopeful for him. I believe that determination allowed him to spend his 16 months with hope, growing spirituality, and a more encompassing understanding of life. So, I encourage all widows to be to never let the diagnosis defeat your hope. Statistics do allow for some variables, and the life you live prior to the final moments is so much more sweeter for the patient. You, as the widow, will still go through unbearable pain, but it helps to know your loved one lived till the end.

  6. I hate everything about cancer! The toxic treatments, the killing cells, the hospitalizations, the uncertainty, the way it laid waste to my husband's vibrant body, the way it destroys, the way it destroyed my husband's retirement, the way people suffer from it, the way it indescriminently chooses people, the way it took away my husband of 42 yrs from me and our family, the way others don't get it, and the loneliness after he is gone. I hate everything about cancer. It is a murderer!!

  7. Thanks for your honestly as well Kim. You put into words what most of us feel. I feel guilty for so many things and you have found such a eloquent way of allowing me to forgive myself.

    And yes, wouldn't it be nice if those around us could walk this widow journey for even a day, so they could "get it" and stop complaining about the little things.

  8. To Cindy L above - my husband also died of Glioblastoma Multiforma - he died after 14 months. I was told that he it was a miracle he lived that long. to read your husband lived 16 months was amazing to me, but I can guess at much of what you lived through. My heart goes out to you. My husband had a terminal diagnosis and was inoperable from the moment of discovery on the MRI. It is a devastating disease - like having a brain disease and cancer. Whenever, I hear of someone who has a brain tumour or a family member with one it breaks my heart.
    But like you I was determined despite the devastating diagnosis that we would live everyday with something to hope for - more time, more love, more sunrises and we did. I try to find comfort in that - that despite the diagnosis and expectation he wouldn't live very long, he still beat those odds and for that I am grateful