Saturday, August 22, 2009

Hot Dog

I went through a grief support group study a while back. Most of us had lost our spouses due to illness. I was thinking the other day about how Mike's illness was really an opportunity for us. We got to say and do things that were important to us.

We found out that Mike had cancer in March of 2008. At that time we were dating. I thought one day that we would get married, but I didn't know when and I really wasn't rushing things, which if you know me is a miracle. I am not patient and I am constantly trying to push things along in my own timing. 

A terminal illness gives you a new perspective on life. Mike was a careful planner. He would contemplate and go through every scenario before making a decision. Sometimes it was exhausting just waiting on him to make a decision about the simplest of things, let alone the really serious things. But with his illness, he suddenly realized that he didn't have all the time in the world. He could not wait for the perfect moment because if he did - the life he had left would pass him by.

We got married in between chemo sessions. I was worried the night before the wedding. He had not been eating or feeling well. He had not bounced back after this last session as he had the one before. Was I making the right decision? Did he need more time? Was I being selfish? I talked to God quite a bit each day as I would leave work and head for home. Please God just give me a sign. When I got home, Mike was actually hungry. He surprised us because he wanted a hot dog. I figured after a week of the mildest of foods, if he could eat a hot dog, then we could get married.

We had the wedding in front of the fireplace at our house. There was a stool for Mike to sit on if he needed it during the ceremony. His chair was also nearby. I looked into his eyes and we each repeated our vows ... in sickness and in health... til death do us part. 

And that is the thing, although death has parted us, I still love him. I carry him in my heart and in my memories. A well meaning person once told me, you weren't married that long - you'll get over it. Death is not something you get over. You accept it. And of course as a Christian, I know this is not it. There is so much more to come. And it is more wonderful than our earthly selves can even imagine. But for now I miss him and I remember him dearly.

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