My husband, Tim, was diagnosed with cancer on July 28, 2018. Our time together after diagnosis was a beautiful disaster.
This is the 22nd day after my husband passed away from the complications of cancer treatment. Today I went to the camper we shared next to Timmy’s favorite lake in Southern Illinois. He had been boating there for probably 30 years. I was going to sell the camper and roll up the spot, but it was a pain in the ass. So I kept it, and it will have a new life this year as the Golden Girl pad.
Today there were no tears. Instead, there was wine, good food, and the company of friends to spread laughter and cheer on what could be a sad day. Opening the camper was always a fun day for us. Timmy had his list of chores outside while I worked inside, making it a home. On this day, as all the days past, his playlist rang sweet tones through the air.
Today I am not sad. But I am missing my favorite handyman.
This day in history:
In April of last year, Tim was on a long slow recovery from surgery in January to remove cancer from his liver, pancreas, and lymph nodes. On April 11th, 72 days after this major surgery (and pneumonia) he got up, made breakfast, let the dogs out, picked up, showered, got dressed, and took himself to get his hair cut. It was the first time I had seen my husband, the big, strong, self-reliant man since the end of January.
Later that day, we received a message from our friend in Michigan wanting to know if we could house sit and watch her dogs while she attended a conference in New Orleans. I cried and cried. Just a few weeks before that we had canceled our annual trip to Northern Michigan because Tim was still very much unable to care for himself, and money was getting tight. It was such a special trip for us as it would mark our first wedding anniversary, but with him not working and my business taking a backseat to caregiving, we thought there was no way we could swing it. Until Kelly called with the news. She would give us the place for free in exchange for watching her dogs and caring for her hemp farm.
I think I cried in shock and disbelief for two hours. We went on a short date to our favorite restaurant downtown. In the midst of this amazing day, we also received word that his scans showed an area of concern that could be related to the abscess or a cancerous growth left behind from the liver resection.
Sounds like our day was capped by lousy news, right? You kind of learn to let the cancer stuff run in the background. When I look back on that day, I remember it with joy and gratitude. Our friend gave us a beautiful gift. Cancer is going to do what it wants. There is nothing you can do about it. What you can do, is live in the moments you have.