I posted this yesterday, but Facebook didn't pick up the narrative. So I'm trying it again today to see if it will post to Facebook. You may have already seen it.
Three weeks ago from this evening you left us. During this time we have all had to learn so many things, to have our faith tested and challenged in infinite ways that are difficult and almost impossible to understand. Everyone keeps telling me and reassuring me that I will get better. I realize one of the reasons I crashed so hard was not only because of your leaving, but because the stress and strain the last several years have been as we have dealt with your chronic pain. Each day was a challenge for you. You rarely complained. But on those days when your shoulders hurt, your arms hurt, your back hurt, your hips hurt, and your legs hurt, you had a right to complain and let me know how you felt. Of course, you didn't need to tell me because I could read the pain lines in your face. And when you hurt, I hurt along with you. I often wept when I was out of your sight when I realized there was nothing we could do beyond what we had already done to alleviate your pain.
But still you welcomed each new day. Still you encouraged me and lifted me up and kept me from being discouraged. One time when we seemed to be in a completely hopeless impasse, you were the one who comforted me and dried my tears. Still you felt you had things to do. But the last six months I was almost in denial when I realized that each day you were doing less and less. You started the time we came back to Riverton by wanting to cook a meal a week. You struggled to cook one meal and never tried again. You wanted to do the laundry but you let me take over and you never tried doing it again. You had always put 1000 piece puzzles together, but you put only one together when we came back. I bought you two new ones, but you gave up ever trying to do one again. I bought you two coloring books with colored pencils and they stayed on the table for weeks and you never felt like touching them. You tried dusting the living room but you gave up in despair by saying "I just can't do anything." Even though your oncologist gave you a clear sailing report six weeks before you left, clearly you were leaving little by little, day by day. I tried the best I could. I brought you your pain pills, your ice water, cooked something nice for supper, bought the groceries, turned down the bed, asked you throughout the day what I could do for you, what I could bring. And each day the bonds of our love, of our eternal marriage, grew stronger and more sacred as we were blessed to have another day, another week together.
When we had our nightly prayer, I often tried to get you to take turns. Finally, you told me you wanted me to say the prayer every night because my words brought you some comfort. And so I never asked you to pray again. We never gave up praying for relief from your pain. We never gave up counting our blessings, being grateful for our family, for each day, for the beautiful flowers and mountains and clouds and sky, for the heritage we gained from the hard work and sacrifice of our parents, for the spiritual strength that grew infinitely as we faced our daily challenges. But finally, it was time. I never thought that moment would come. I always thought I would go first, leaving you with my books and files and general collection of useless papers and trivia. But there were other plans that we could not control. And so here we are. Where are you? And why am I still here? Maybe some time both of these questions will be answered. Meanwhile, I will do my best to get through each lonely moment of each lonely day.
Your loving husband,