Last July, my wife Kathy died from breast cancer that had spread to her liver. She was in treatment for over 15 months, had been placed in the “remission” group after a year, and then in a matter of 3 weeks the cancer came roaring back and consumed her liver. I can’t even remember the last conversation we had as everything became such a blur at the end.
The speed with which the end came, the way it all happened so quickly, neither she nor I, nor those around us, had a chance to even consider that she was about to die when she went into the hospital “for testing”. On her last day, when the doc took me aside to inform me there was nothing that could be done after frantic attempts to change the outcome, my world came to an abrupt standstill.
That same ICU doctor then, in a gesture of pure compassion, allowed family and friends to come be with Kathy for what turned out to be the last 6 hours of her life. She was unconscious, however was responding in subtle ways to the endless expressions of love.
Being able to witness the flow of family and friends show up and be with Kathy, was a gift of great significance for me. As they were seeking their own way to grapple with the unbelievable scene they found, I too was searching for mine. Their expressions of love penetrated my heart and have been a sustained system of support since then.
I have said many times that, I do not know how to grieve. And that I am trying to be conscious about my grieving. My attempts at doing so include giving-in to the many feelings of loss, sadness, hurt, anger, pain and whatever else shows up and then trying my best to let them flow through me. I do know that holding them back will only bring more to work through later.
Part of my process to let my feelings flow has turned into writing. I start to feel the pain of the loss and let myself put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and let the words show up. It helps me to get it out and it can surprise me what shows up. That’s what I am doing right now and part of my surprise continues to be that I am still processing the significance of my loss.
Could others in their own grieving process find any benefit in getting a glimpse at mine? Could others dealing with their own version of loss find solace in my words speaking of my loss? I cannot presume to know the answers to these questions.
Could I benefit by sharing my process with others? I know it always helps me when I talk through my feelings with family or friends. Could I help myself to move through my grieving by sharing what I have written? I know how the act of writing is helping me, perhaps sharing will add even more to the healing.
I have been fighting with these questions of “should I share” for weeks now. As time has moved on and I sometimes think I “should be done” with the grieving, I find all of the “should be’s” just become a big block to my moving on.
So what is about to follow, is my attempt to keep finding my own way of moving forward. What follows will be a glimpse into My Open Heart…..a broken, sad, angry, hurting and hopefully healing heart.