Saturday, June 3, 2006

Seventh Thoughts

Hi Babe,
I know how weird it is to write to you online. Not to flatter myself, but there are at least a couple of other people who will read this. Weird. And I don't know why I think that somehow the ether is the way to reach you. Weird. Maybe I am kidding myself, like I am about a lot of other things. In scary ways, I have felt like I was losing you lately. Your face is less clear to me, and instead of the gaunt "cancer chic" look you had for your last years of life, I'm seeing you full-faced in your dress shirts and your tailored to order pants. You always looked good to me, but I worry about you becoming a Memory. When it hurts, at least you feel "real."

I read this article today: it says that doctors are treating their cancer patients too aggressively at the end of life, and not allowing them time to come to terms with death. I worry that we did that with you, although it was all you ever said you wanted. And damn it, whatever effing odds the doctors gave us, I always thought you would pull off a miracle. It was just the way you were--not powerful, perhaps, but indestructable. Todd called you "elemental" in an email to me; I think you'd like that. To me, you were elemental--fundamental, essential, omnipresent. And that final, desperate chemo was working, wasn't it? If only the other treatments hadn't hit you so hard, or if we hadn't used up our good luck so early on, when we thought we had caught it in time.

And all the terrible things G-Doc told me about the final days--the dementia, the dehydration, the anxiety; well, they were pretty short, weren't they? I hope you knew that everyone who loved you most was there in those final days. They were there for you, and they were there for me. You have some awesome friends, and their love for you is simply amazing. But I still worry that you didn't have time to say goodbye. I have that nutty file you left on your laptop called "Hereafter Notes." It makes me laugh and cry every time I see it, which is every time I open the laptop. I know I need to get someone to overhaul the computer and sort the files, but I like logging in with your name and password, and seeing your folders with all the files you did for me. You know I would never have gotten a job, or a PhD, without you, right? I know you thought I could do it without you, but that's just because you loved me. I miss that kind of love: the one that knows the other person is a finer human being than they can possibly understand.

I hope you recognized the strength in yourself in those last months. I hope you understood that a lesser man would not have managed to be as loving, as grateful, as stoic, and as FUNNY, goddamit, as you were. I laugh in the middle of the night, sometimes, thinking of your response to that scary, scary fall down the steps: "And he goes DOWN!" you said, when I rushed to your side. We laughed all the way to what, in retrospect, was probably your final, final treatment run. You were a class act all your life, my love, and I hope you could focus on those of us who knew it, instead of those who overlooked your tremendous gifts.

Your daughter is everything you wanted: funny, smart, sassy, and very much her own person. I hope you can see her, or sense her. Maybe I could post a photo? But without you, I don't know how. Hell, I can't even get the photos off the camera. Or format my own CV. You spoiled me, love.

We're going to see the "good relatives" tonight. We love them, and not least because they let us talk about you. They want to talk about you. I try to talk to your dad; not only because this must be agony for him, but because he knows what it's like to lose your spouse so early, and so tragically. He's mostly doing his stoic thing, but some days I think I get through. I'm not thrilled to have inherited your repressed family, but I'm doing my best. And I really, really wish I had known you earlier, so you didn't have to spend so many years alone among them. But then, I probably would have been too young and too stupid to realize that you were the first perfect gift life would give me (our daughter, of course, is the second).

I know we said we had done everything we could; we were smart enough, despite our optimism/denial, to say the things we needed to say to each other. But I wonder again and again if it was enough--if anything could be. I miss you.
Your Wife.


At 4:25 PM , Blogger Badger said...

This is beautiful, Dorcasina.

At 4:54 PM , Anonymous miss muffet said...

WOW! I read your blog often. This is absolutely amazing writing. Thank you for sharing with us. This letter has such feeling--it radiates off the screen. The love you share is so crystal clear. Thank you!

At 5:16 PM , Blogger snickollet said...

Just beautiful. I feel honored to have read it.

As the twins' due date draws nearer, I've been thinking of writing GH a letter about how much I love him and what he's brought to my life, just in case when the time comes, I'm preoccupied with babies. We, too, say what we need to say, but like you wonder if it's ever enough, if anything can be.

Thank you for sharing. Your love is an inspiration.

At 4:21 PM , Blogger OTRgirl said...

I was holding it together when I finished this post. Barely, but holding. Then I read the one about your little girl and her Papa and started to cry.

I'm so sorry for both of you that he's gone. I'm glad you can tell us stories. That's what I wanted to do most of all after Mom died. Just talk about her. Remember what she did, her quirks, her words, herself.

Thank you for your stories

At 10:04 PM , Anonymous Menita said...

This is beautiful - your husband sounds like an amazing man. I understand about the laptop and the ether - after my father died I wrote him emails for months. It helped.
Not to say losing your husband is on the same level, but I understand. And I am so sorry.

At 5:26 AM , Blogger Yankee T said...

Oh, dear Dorcasina...your love pours out of this letter. Your heart is so open and exposed. Your admission that at least the pain keeps him present is so touching. I know it's not your intention to teach anyone on your blog, but I have learned so much about loving my spouse from you. I'm so sorry, and you are in my thoughts no less as time wears on.
Thank you for posting this, and I hope it helps you some.


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