HAP Posted January 11, 2014 Report Share Posted January 11, 2014 Dear friends, Jane died 37 months ago tonight. I knew it was coming. I knew there was nothing I could do to stop it from happening. I held her hand, read to her unconscious form, did all that love can do. And then she was gone. Her breathing stopped. Her heart stopped. Her life stopped. The doctor came in, listened to her heart, nodded and confirmed what we all already knew. I made the calls I had to make in the shock and numbness that makes a person look so much braver and stronger than he is. A friend drove me home to the silence of this house where we had laughed and argued and cried and loved. I threw myself on the bed. Eventually, I slept. I woke up in the dark and the silence and the emptiness and knew just how alone I was. I knew all the theories about grief. I had seen others grieve. I thought I understood. I understood nothing. I knew nothing. There are no time limits on grief. You don't wake up one day and discover you are "over it." You get better at coping, but the hurt never really goes away. You can bury yourself in work. You can go out with friends and family. You can laugh. You can drink. You can talk to counselors and take the drugs they offer. But at the end of the day, you come home alone, you go to bed alone, you wake up alone. Even in a crowded room at a party there comes a point that you look around and realize you are alone. I had that moment again on Christmas Day. I was at my brother's house in Seattle. We were all sitting at the table. People were talking and laughing--and suddenly it was just too much. I got up quietly and went to another room. I sat next to the Christmas tree and stared mindlessly into space for a few minutes. My family has seen it before. They know, I think, that I am feeling something difficult in those few minutes. They leave me alone long enough to gather myself. Over 37,000 people have died of carcinoid and NET cancer since the night Jane died. Each one of them had someone who loved them--spouses, parents, children, grandparents, grandchildren. Each of them had a precious mind and a precious soul that is now missing from the world. My grief has been mirrored at least 37,000 times in 37 months. I try to imagine that and it staggers me. There are 120,000 diagnosed patients living with NET cancer in the US--and all but a handful will die of the disease unless something changes. That's 120,000 more grieving spouses and primary caregivers. Someone said to me recently, "Why do you care about what other people feel? Just deal with your own grief and get over it." Someone else said, "We all have to die of something. If she hadn't died of this, it would have been something else. You can't stop death, so why try? She's gone. Move on." I might have thought that way once. I envy them their ignorance and their ability to maintain their logical fantasy. It sounds nice until you have to live it. Once you live it, you want others not to experience any part of it. No one who has actually experienced combat wants anyone else to experience any part of it. No one who has experienced grief wants anyone else to experience any part of it, either. So I keep working; I keep trying to make a difference. Some days are easier than others. Some days are harder than others. But none are as hard as the day you watch the one you love die, knowing there is nothing you can do--nothing anyone can do--to stop it. Peace, Harry Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
Create an account or sign in to comment
You need to be a member in order to leave a comment
Create an account
Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!Register a new account
Already have an account? Sign in here.Sign In Now