A little bit about my story -
On March 7, 2007, my husband, Bill, died from the side effects of cancer. He didn't suffer, it wasn't a long, drawn out process, the kids were quietly asleep when he died, and Bill died in his sleep. This should all bring me comfort but it doesn't. I know that, faithfully, God granted my family a gift not having to watch my husband and the father of my children suffer greatly. I know this! I struggle with being cheated out of being his Florence Nightingale.
Like any marriage, during our 12 years together we had experienced many ups and downs. We had 3 beautiful children together yet we lost 2 more to mid-term miscarriages - up/down. We attended the wedding of Bill's oldest son, Michael, only to watch as their marriage crumbled (they have since reunited and had a baby girl, Kaylee Rose but not until after Bill died) - up/down. Bill started a successful business or two or three only to see them all crash and leave us almost homeless - up/down. Then there were the things in between - struggles with addiction, a brief separation, new jobs, new houses, new schools, new churches, deaths in the family - all of which caused us to fluctuate between love and despair.
So, when Bill went to the doctor with a lump in his neck that was fairly large but not at all painful, we were geared up for the news. We were hoping that it would be Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma because the treatment is aggressive but the survival rate is good. This is what the primary diagnosis was and we were cheering but gearing up for the fight. When they did further testing on the tumor after the biopsy it showed that it was not lymphoma in any form but it was Squamous cell carcinoma. This is, in laymen terms, inside-out skin cancer. It was located near the throat so for simplicity, we called it throat cancer. A huge blow made bigger because the survival rate is dim. I was still prepared to fight! But, Bill wasn't.
He felt such guilt for "getting" cancer. He apologized to me many times until it just started ticking me off! I could tell that he had given up on trying to fight before the fight began. I have had such a difficult time forgiving him for not fighting but I have slowly received the gift of forgiveness. Bill wasn't me and the month before he died he spent fixing all of the loose ends in the house - hanging pictures that weren't hung, finding paper work that was essential in case he died, loving on the kids every moment that he could, and finding a right place with God. In watching him do all of these things, it just made me mad! How can you just give in to it and not be willing to fight? For me? For the kids? For your mother? It has been over a year and I am, as I said before, slowly forgiving him. I try to imagine the torment of knowing that you are going to die while the world is still moving on as usual.
I remember the morning after he died, driving to my parent's house and being so angry that people had the audacity to pump gas while I was mourning the loss of my husband and while my children were wondering where daddy went! How dare the world go on when I didn't know how I could pick out a casket, pick out the flowers, call the church, or just live on without him. This was going to be insane! What was God thinking when He thrust me into this scenario? Doesn't he know what a wimp I am? I can fight for my kids, I can fight for my husband, but this? But then I began to say, why not me?
In a nutshell, it is a process with ongoing hardships, sadness, joys, disappointments, laughter, and much more. I thank God for this trial even though I don't think that I am at all equipped to handle it as well as the "next guy." I have faith in Jesus' friendship for Lazarus; His friendship for Kelly and for Murphy and for Briege and for Keagan. I wake up every morning asking for just a little less hardship and a little more laughter and He delivers even if the two are sometimes entwined into one!