In case you might ever wonder, I do read my fellow writers’ weekly contributions to this site. My own tale is quite sad for me, of course, but not particularly dramatic. Simply, once Lee developed pancreatic cancer, her outcome was never much in doubt. As happens to millions of others each year, I lost my sweet wife to relentless cancer. World-wise, cancer is the leading cause of death, accounting for about one in six deaths.
Relentless cancer: Nothing dramatic about the disease, but it is an extraordinarily efficient killer. Lee’s death from cancer neither shocked nor surprised me. For years I had been witnessing firsthand her brave battles against cancer in various forms. Every new diagnosis had been a gut punch. Each time you try to gather yourself anew, take a deep breath and get back into the ring for the next round. What else can one do?
You see, Lee’s relentless cancer was omnipresent in my life, too. Her repeated battles with cancer, which increased both in number and intensity with time, were stressful and exhausting for me, too. I can’t imagine what it must have been like for her.
Today, several years removed, I still marvel how Lee managed to persevere for as long as she did without surrendering her sense of optimism that there eventually would be a light at the end of this very dark tunnel. From my vantage point, Lee handled cancer, like most everything else in her far-too-short life, with aplomb.
In the end, like millions of others, Lee lost her desperate fight for life.
Lee’s death left me hollow. Many days I’d feel her loss in the deepest recesses of my still beating heart, as if I had been carved open and had had the best parts removed. When Lee died, a little piece of me died with her, I think. She had been my love, my best friend, my greatest supporter.
I express such personal feelings only occasionally in this space. After all, among this cohort my personal tale of woe is hardly unique. Ordinarily, I am content here to focus on my post-mortem life, offering glimpses into how I manage, adjust to or cope with the reality that Lee died. Whether death comes as the result of cancer, an accident, even suicide, the sad reality that someone important to us is gone stays common cause. It is the inviolate truth that unites us.
Today, my personal agenda is to greet every day with optimism, to look forward to all my tomorrows, and always, always, to keep moving forward, even in the face of the inevitable hurdles that life will toss your way. As Lee might well have said, persevere, baby.