A Bad Break

I know people expect me to have more acceptance and peace with losing my wife to cancer earlier this year, and I don’t blame them. It has been seven months, after all. As I get further along in coming to terms with my grief, I feel that I am healing poorly. By that, I mean that I won’t be “good as new,” or back to the way I was. I’m impaired.

Consider what happens when you break your arm. You are in immense pain from the fracture, but with proper care, over time, the bone mends, and you heal. What happens if you don’t get proper care or set the break first? Won’t it still heal, but will heal crooked? You would likely lose some function of that arm, and it would be misshapen. Yes, you could get by, albeit inelegantly, but you are forever damaged.

That’s me, emotionally, healing badly from losing my lovely wife to cancer, and it’s changed me forever. It’s like an emotional car crash that I’m recovering from, and it’s left me deformed and handicapped.

And then there is the pain that spikes up out of nowhere and wracks me. That still happens, but it subsides much quicker. It’s no less severe, just shorter bouts. And I still have bad days where I can’t find joy or purpose in anything, but they are becoming fewer. All this is me, healing badly.

Without a doubt, this is the most difficult thing I have done – to keep going without Lynn beside me.

Today, I read a long post from someone who had cancer, and it went into remission. She thanked God and said it was her faith that saved her. Now, I’m happy for this person, but Lynn was a devout Christian, right to the end. Why did God kill her but save this other person? Did Lynn not pray enough? Did she not participate in her church enough? Didn’t read her bible as much as this other person, so you die, and you live? Was it, “God’s will?”

I look at my 92 year old mother, and she’s frail and unable to enjoy life any longer. On more than one occasion, she has said she is ready to go, and that living has gotten very hard, and she’s tired. I love my mother dearly, but each day is joyless and small, passing the time between meals and bedtime with game shows on tv, because anything more taxing is too much for her.

Then I look at Lynn, who was only 57 years old when she was diagnosed with stage IV colorectal cancer. She had decades of life left to enjoy. She had a husband that adored her. She was vital and capable, and she loved life so much. But nope. She’s gone.

What kind of god does that to people? What kind of god makes someone keep living when they can’t enjoy life and takes life away from someone who dearly wants to live? For me, that is a cruel god, or a god that doesn’t care, or more likely, a god that isn’t there and never was. God’s will, indeed. But none of that is important.

Yes, I’m still grieving… seven months later, I still mourn the loss of my wife. I’m sorry. I want to be better. I want to be able to think of Lynn and remember all the happy times we had together in our thirty years of marriage, without the sadness because she’s gone, but there is no expiration date on grief. I admit though, it is starting to get a bit stale.


2 thoughts on “A Bad Break

  1. Mitch
    yes life is different. A track we’d never thought we’d find ourselves on. It’s rough terrain.
    Still — it’s life. A gift.
    Your spirit is strong. You can do this journey.
    I walk with you. As do many others.

  2. I think seven months is not much time at all, Mitch, when it comes to losing your lifetime partner. Lynn was the love of your life and people just don’t find that kind of total and mutual commitment everyday, never mind find it and lose it after having thirty years together. It’s just cruel. Of course, life is cruel and more so to some than others. But I don’t believe it’s got anything to do with religion.

    It is encouraging you say that, even if no less painful, the bouts of pain caused by your grief are getting shorter, and the dark days are lessening. This isn’t you healing badly…it’s simply a start. I believe you really need to give yourself more time and have lower expectations of how you are think you are supposed to be healing. You are totally right—there is no expiration date on grief.

    Sending a big hug from across the water. Keep going and remember to be kind to yourself.


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