Twelve Lonely Weeks

It’s been twelve weeks since my life mate died — twelve lonely weeks that I’ve spent wishing he were here, wishing that we had our life back, wishing that he hadn’t been sick so much.

I’m beginning to understand, though, that to wish things were different is to negate the wisdom, courage, and determination with which he faced his life and death. Until the very end when he was imprisoned in bed by drugs (they did not know how else to handle his terminal restlessness — the restlessness that some people experience near the end — so they tranquilized him into a coma) he was determined to live his life to the fullest he could. He was so weak, so befuddled by the drugs and the metastases in his brain that he could not do much, yet his courage and determination were as strong as ever. Sick of being in bed, sick of being sick, he set up an office in the living room and set to work planning his schedule. That was the last night he was awake. He lived through five more nights and days, but he was not conscious. Or at least I hope he wasn’t. He would have hated being a helpless invalid, so it’s a good thing he only had to endure five such days.

I really was glad — or perhaps relieved is a better word — when he died. He’d suffered so much and that determination of his not to waste a single moment of his life, not to give in to the disease, kept him going long after he was ready to die. Later, as the reality of the situation hit me, as grief devasted me, I began to wish things had been different.

He’d been told he had three to six months to live, but he only had three weeks. I’ve been wishing we had those months — but even if I had a choice, there is no way I could justify putting him through that extra pain so I could have him in my life a little longer.

And yet . . . and yet. I still wish things had been different. I wish he’d had a long, healthy, happy life. I wish we still had “our” life.

I wish I could hug him one more time.

I wish . . .

12 Responses to “Twelve Lonely Weeks”

  1. Urban Man @ Says:

    Pat, any words I write will be just undermining the loss and hurt you are going through but in saying that – my mom and I have lived that pain (and are still living it) for 11 years now – and wanting that one more hug .. the want is still there!

    In saying that – now you know he is in better place, freed from his suffering and smiling down upon you – wanting you to get on with your lives and make it worth every minute! FOR HIM!

    My best is with you and I am celebrating your posts – they are every word worth reading!


    the Urban Man

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Thank you, Urban Man. It’s nice knowing I’m not the only one wanting one more hug. I hope I can make my life worth living. Eventually, anyway. Everything is still so raw right now.

  2. Yaya Says:

    Oh, Pat… I am so, so very sorry. I remember feeling that same way when my mama was sick and, though the situations are different, the pain is not. How I wish there were some way I could help ease your pain. You are contantly in my prayers, even though I don’t get to comment very much; you are in my thoughts. I’m sending hugs.

    ~ Yaya
    Yaya’s Changing World

  3. Carol J. Garvin Says:

    Wishing is a yearning of the heart, brought on by memories. You’ve come a long distance in these twelve weeks, Pat, both physically and emotionally. I have confidence you’ll survive this and I continue to remember you in prayer.

  4. joylene Says:

    I think wishing and yearning happen to the end. To yearn is to be human. I wonder how people manage otherwise.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I feel so foolish wishing for something I know can never be, yet, you’re right. We need to wish and yearn. To accept totally what is, could be too painful.

      • Musette Says:

        Please don’t feel foolish – you are human. Joylene is right, to yearn is to be human because we do not live solely in the moment. Our existence is made up of so many timelines. Your goal is not to ‘not yearn’ but simply to be able to live in this moment with the joys and pains of your human-ness. In the fullness of time you will move into the next steps – don’t worry, he will always be with you but not in this painful way – and that will be a Good Thing when it does happen.

        You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  5. AliasRose Says:

    Sorry for your loss, Pat. Grieving is healthy, and then comes perspective and acceptance.
    Sounds like he lived the part in the movie ‘the bucket list.’ ‘twould be sadder had he not fully lived.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Thank you, Perle. I’m gaining perspective, but I have not yet reached acceptance, am not ready for that yet. I think I’m afraid that when I get there, our life together will have receded too much into the past. That will come, though, whether I’m ready or not.

  6. Jill Says:

    Pat, after witnessing and experiencing the tremendous suffering which humans endure, I am continually amazed that people are able to keep going, but they do. There are not adequate words in the dictionary to express my sympathy, and even if there were, they would not ease your pain.

    In some way it feels like I was meant to come across your blog. I just want you to know that I’m thinking of you and wishing you relief from the intense sorrow you feel. Some days will be worse than others, but you will keep going…for yourself and for the man who will never leave your heart.


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