Friday, September 14, 2012

And so it begins....

It's that time of year, the weather begins to change, fall begins to show little signs of appearing.  It marks the beginning of the annual march to the deathaversary.  This is my 7th trip down this path and I'm becoming a pro.  In years past, it took me a few weeks to recognize that I was a bit grumpy, a bit emotional, and generally out of sorts.  This time, I'm ready for it.  You'd hope so, wouldn't you?  After 7 years you'd sort of hope I'd begin to recognize the signs.  I'm waiting for it, and so far, nothing.  But it's early yet. 

The march usually starts around the end of September.  It starts the day we got his third diagnosis, and it extends through our wonderful train trip to California, our week at MD Anderson head and neck cancer center, my birthday in the emergency room, a lovely and terribly sad family bbq, and culminates with the horrible last days leading to the actual anniversary.  Each year I walk the days and mark them.  I hold them in my arms,  I hug them, I cover them with my tears and then let them go.  Each year it is slightly less painful, but only slightly.  Each year I am reminded of the good and bad of those last days and I am reminded of how precious life is.  How quickly it can be taken, and how much I need to appreciate the people I have while I have them.

My life is so much better now than it has been in years, and I am grateful for it.  But I'm always aware of the loss we have experienced, and the choice I have made to make the best of what's left of my days.  I'm hyper aware of how quickly things can change.  I want to be more grateful and more focused on the things that matter.  I want to savor every moment and hold tight to all the memories being made now.  I could be hit by a truck tomorrow, and I want "no regrets" to be my motto until then.

I'm working on it. Hard.


  1. Reading your post today, reminded me of how I am feeling today. No one else remembers these days like we do. Earlier this week, I was really sad. Could not think of why. But then I remembered,my wedding Anniversary was coming up. It is today!Who else would remember this, even my teenage daughter's would not. But for me it is unforgetable, 21 years ago. It was such a great weddding, we had so much fun and were so happy. The look on my husbands face as I walked down the asle told me more than words could say about how much he loved me and was happy to be marrying me! I will ever forget it! So today, I shouted to an empty house Happy Anniversary, my love!

  2. I'm heading towards the two year anniversary of my husband's death on 11/02/12. I always loved this time of year, school starting again and the changes in the weather, but now I look back on what was going on two years ago at this time. I remember how hopeful we were on 09/13/10 when the scans after the first two rounds of chemo came back, but then I was in such denial I couldn't accept the fact that chemo was not to cure the cancer, but to give maybe an extra month or two of life. There are trees with pink flowers now blooming here in LA, I remember lying on the day bed in his room at St. John's hospital gazing at one of those beautiful trees, and how normal life continued outside of those windows, but not within.

  3. This is that time of year for me too. The light is changing toward fall very quickly, and it is such a reminder of when he died. The light coming in our bedroom window the day he died, as I was incapable of moving from that room and that bed that day, was the autumn light that happens every year at the change of seasons. So painful to realize,on that day, the earth and all its inhabitants kept living, kept moving, even though my life had stopped completely. I did not think I could survive it, but I did. It is not easy. The march to the "deathiversary" is always there,every year, just like Michelle says. It has lost some of its punch, but I still feel it. It will be my 7th also. Don't get me wrong, life is good in many ways. BUT, I still miss my husband and I am glad I can come here and tell the world.........

  4. Ditto....memories of seasons changing, doctor visits, testing, misdiagnoses, hope, more tests, hope fading, denial, acceptance, life going on w/o him, how can it be?
    I'm still here, he is not, his death is my reality, no matter how much I want to wake up and find out it isn't.
    Searching for that normal life and joy again, bits and pieces come back about how it used to be, but I'm afraid it will remain just out of reach.

  5. Michelle, you have worked so hard to get where you are in life! Hitting 2 anniversaries so far, I know the feeling of carrying all those memories with me and hope I will continue to do so. My husband died suddenly but I will always be grateful and cherish the special moments we shared the couple weeks just before he suffered the stroke.

    You are a young widow, but my senior in widow years. I trust I will feel the same way at 7 years and can hope I will feel somewhat satisfied at being able to have turned my life around. THANK YOU!

  6. This is my first march. I'm afraid. I feel alone. The signs of fall are like a warning to the sad, dark, and cold days that will come. Only my faith and God's grace can overcome the emotion and provide the strength it will take to get to February.

  7. i was just writing about the same thing for my blog...the weather changes, it's so beautiful...and then i remember...him not feeling well, the xrays, the ct scans, the neoplasms...the death sentence.
    I love the last paragraph. Great words.
    Thanks for writing.

  8. Sending hugs to each of you as you walk your own march - xo

  9. Dear Michelle,
    Thank you for sharing - most especially the last paragraph. Like others here, i am also on the march and like another anon above my husband died on November 2nd but in 2010. My birthday, our anniversary, his death. Occur in a matter of two months.

    September 2009 we found out his palliative chemo stopped working. He chose to discontinue treatment. We all knew the end was near. Our whole family worked to make those last two months something beautiful and we did.
    every morning I wake and think about those days - it will be two years.
    Sometimes I think what have I done with my life since then? In that very type A critical self analysis. . .
    but the softer part of me, the part that is "working on it hard" says - "survived! you have survived."

    I too, am going to work on it very hard. We all understand how short life really is. I don't want to waste my life. I said after my husband died i have dedicated myself to love. That is my purpose, that is how I will live.

    I would love to see that somewhere - in all the protests, wall street, political, just someone standing there with a placard that says "LOVE!"
    sending it out to each of you.


  10. I have had my heart touched by your blogs so often. This one pierced it. My sister's husband is living his last days. I cannot bear the pain she is living and I pray she can find solace within this arena. Love to you.