I knew this woman who had beautiful olive skin, perfectly coiled curls and the sunniest disposition. This woman was so encouraging and so positive. She had three children just as perfectly put together as she. Whether she was wearing an outfit fit for a business meeting or an intense workout she was stylish and put together. From the outside looking in it would seem that this woman had it all together and in so many ways, she did.
What you would not know without knowing her deeper was that her 44 year old husband was dying of cancer. She was his main caretaker. At the beginning it seemed that life was turned upside down while the family came to terms with his diagnosis. The cancer stayed stagnant for some time. While he did not go into remission, his health was stable and did not get worse at least for the time. During this time the treatments become more routine than monumental.
When he had the original diagnosis the doctors gave him a time frame in which they believed he would pass away. During this time his beautiful wife brought him to doctors appointments, wrote down all the doctors order and made sure that he followed through. At the beginning he followed those orders as if his life depended on it, because it did. He even stayed positive and encouraged the kids and family for a time. Although in it all, he was preparing for his death and not a fight to live.
This amazing woman cooked him dinners, brought him his medication, took care of his hygiene needs on the days he struggled to. She prayed with him, she believed for his healing. He was there with her and pushed himself to take family trips even when he was tired so their kids would have those memories to look back on. His wife stood by him and smiled and encouraged others in their own struggles even in the midst of her own pain. She held it together so well it almost seemed as though it did not faze her.
The time frame the doctors had given him to live passed and pretty soon six months had passed. For many it would seem like a joyous exclamation that he continued to live, but it seemed that he was more weary than ever. He stopped following the doctors orders, he did not make as much effort to engage in the activities he always had. His wife began to get weary as well.
She had believed so intensely for him, she did everything in her power to make him comfortable and to make things feel as normal as they could. Soon she found herself getting frustrated with him because it seemed his will to live was not equal to her desire for him to live. She had to push and prod him to even go to the doctor when he was experiencing complications. She was so put together and so encouraging but she could only hold it together for so long. She started to feel guilt about her frustration with him after all he was the one who was dying. Being a caretaker for so long she tried to manage everything to make the rest of his time special and it did not seem that he even cared anymore.
The last few months were a struggle even as she continued to care for him. When he did finally pass over a year beyond what was expected she shared that she felt a sense of peace and relief along with the intense grief for all that was lost.