My wife is dying and there’s nothing I can do about it.
I wrote that line in October 2018 and then never completed the post. Today, a year and a half later, I am going to finish this post.
When I started this post, my wife had been through 8 months of tests, chemo, surgery and treatments for lung cancer.
Every day things got worse.
Her pain had reached the point where I thought she die from the pain. Every night, I hoped and prayed she would pass in her sleep (even though I am an atheist).
It didn’t happen.
It got worse.
I wrote several posts about her diagnosis, treatment and dying in 2018.
It was the worst time of my life (and hers obviously).
Then she died.
I was grateful her suffering was over. But for me, it got worse.
I had a really rough time for the next 6 months after she died. Everyday I wanted to die. I got pretty close to suicide.
My road trip, my friends and living in a camper for 2 months was the only thing that kept me going.
Then one day after a bad two week stretch, I knew it was time to get back to the land of the living.
I was still having bad days. Grief continued to overwhelm me in waves. But at least these waves weren’t coming every minute of every day.
It’s now been 2 years since Ellen was first diagnosed with lung cancer and 17 months since she died. It’s been one year since I moved to Raleigh to start my life over.
I’ve written a lot about building a solo life after 50. I won’t rehash it here.
I want to offer my experience to anyone else who is grieving. It does get better.
Most days, I think of Ellen. Some days I am angry at the doctors, the system and her unnecessary prolonged suffering. Most days I smile when I think of her.
I remember our walks in the park, dinners out, wild sex, vacations, homework, laughing, holding each other and her smile at the end of the day.
Some days, I miss her so much it makes my chest ache.
But we had a good life together. And I can cherish it now without being overwhelmed by grief.
If you are wondering “When will there be a good day?” you are not alone.
I asked myself the same question everyday for a long time.
I don’t ask that question anymore.
Now I have many good days – even though I will always miss Ellen. For me, it took many days to get here.
I wish you the best.