June 23, 2018
Welcome to my little corner of the world. I don’t know if anyone will ever read this, but I thought I would give a little background on “me”. My name is Kim. I am 39.95 plus shipping and handling years old! Three years ago I was widowed after a 30 year, 11 month marriage. It’s been a long, lonely three years. My life, as well as our children’s, changed forever in that final moment. Actually, it changed one year before that when Bob was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Our world was turned upside down. Everything centered on his medical treatment and getting him better. Of course, deep in my soul, I knew there would not be a “better”. But I never, ever said that to him. I knew if I did, that he would give up. I could not let that happen. He was given about six months but defied all the doctors and lived exactly one year. Even as late as two weeks before his passing, he told one of his doctors that he was not giving up. She looked at him and said “good. We don’t want you to give up.” But she also told him that he had lived twice as long as people half his age that had this deadly disease.
Pancreatic cancer. It sucks! All cancer sucks! Pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate in a five year period. Most die within the first year. Some within weeks of diagnosis. It is quickly moving to the #1 spot of deadliest cancers. The reason is because it is so difficult to diagnose it in its early stages. The pancreas is located very deeply in the body. By the time a tumor is visibly present, it has spread to other organs and is at a stage IV. The last doctor my husband had…a pain specialist…was a very compassionate, caring woman. She would sit with Bob every morning, first discussing his pain and adjusting meds. Then, she would sit with him for an hour asking about his life…his childhood, his parents, family, wife, kids, etc. How many doctors take that time? Not many. Not enough.
Struggling financially, I would go to work in the mornings and leave about noon to head to the hospital. (He was in the hospital for two weeks before coming home two weeks and then heading to his eternal home.) One particular day, the doctor saw me arrive and she returned to sit with both of us. She asked Bob if she could share with me what he had told her that morning. He said yes. She had asked him earlier, before I arrived, what his fears were. He told her he was not afraid of dying. He knew God. He accepted Jesus. He was afraid of leaving me alone. He didn’t know how I would manage. Who was going to love me? Who was going to pick up where he left off? I’ve never forgotten that. I never will.
I won’t say it’s been easy. It hasn’t. I have made progress forward. I’ve managed to get out of bed and take a step forward. I’ve got a few close girlfriends who have listened, over and over to my whining. I’ve got four terrific kids. I’ve got extended family. They are there anytime I need. I’ve sold a house. I’ve bought a house. I recently purchased a car, solo. When Bob was diagnosed, we had just paid off all our debt i.e. credit cards. Thank the Lord! I’ve managed to not use them except in very minor circumstances.
Two years ago, I knew I had hit a wall mentally. I knew that, if I didn’t break the cycle, I was going into a very deep, dark place that I would not be able to get out of without professional help. My daughter took a walk with me. Not far and yet a great distance. I managed to keep doing it everyday. As of today, 23 months later, I have walked off 121 pounds! It never started out as that journey, but that’s where it went. I have changed my ways in some things. I took my first solo trip last month. Actually flew by myself! What an excitingly, terrifying step!
My life will never be the way it was when I was married. The plans we had for retirement will never come to fruition. I may never be able to retire, but what would I retire for? And to whom? There is no special man waiting for me when I get home. There is no special man coming home to me. Widowhood is a very lonely world. I pray none of my friends ever go through it, but the reality is that some will. In a married couple, someone has to go first. If they/you are a believer, then the one left behind is the one suffering. I know where Bob is now. I have no doubt. He is happy. He is no longer in pain. He is not sad. Do I think he is still around us? I don’t know. I will find out when I get to heaven. In the meantime, I want to honor Bob’s memory by living and enjoying life. Live it to the fullest. I pray that it is God’s will that another wonderful man becomes my “chapter two”, as widowed people call it. I am certainly open to the possibility. You see, I enjoyed married life enough to do it again. I miss Bob. I miss being married. I will grieve him forever, but I will also live, as that is what he would want me to do.
Do I have all the answers? Absolutely not! I question a lot of what I do. I do not question my faith, however. My faith got me through some of the darkest moments of my life. I had to have enough courage, in the final moments, to let my husband go. I knew where he was going. Even though cancer thinks it won, it did not. Bob no longer has cancer! He has eternal life with Jesus! God did not take him, either! God received him! Big difference! I am at peace with it. Memories will bring smiles. Memories will bring tears. But it’s okay. The cost of love is grief. I don’t know what the future holds for me but I will keep my eyes on Jesus! The only certainty I have. But what a great certainty! Be a blessing and you will be blessed!