I recently lost my husband to colon cancer. While he was ill people kept thanking me for being there for him and taking care of him. I couldn't accept their gratitude. I didn't understand their gratitude. To me taking care of him was as natural as breathing. I couldn't imagine doing otherwise. I used to get angry at their expressions of thanks because I felt as if it belittled the love I had for my husband. The people that were thanking me were people that were close to him but not to me. They only became part of our life when he became ill...prior to that they were only part of his life. I hated their “thank-you's” because it wasn't something that a person should have to be thanked for. I was his wife, not his nurse. We had shared seventeen years together full of love and laughter, adventure and friendship. Our relationship didn't begin when he got ill.
Since he passed, on November 16th, I have come to realize that perhaps they weren't only saying thank you for taking care of him. Perhaps they were also saying thank you for all the years that I made him so happy. Possibly they didn't know what to say so they just said, “thank you”. His family never was “our” family but for a short time we all supported each other. A group of people sharing a common bond. The love we all shared for Allen. I don't think I ever told them “thank you” but I have such gratitude in my heart for the way they were able to put aside their feelings towards me and be there for him during his final months and days. Although we will all once again drift off to our own lives because that common bond is no longer with us I will always be grateful to the people that for a short time made me feel accepted and part of something that was so important to my husband, his family.
And now I am left feeling grateful. I am grateful for the many wonderful years I spent with Allen. I'm grateful that my son was able to to grow up with such a positive role model in his life. I'm grateful for my stepdaughter whom, before her father became ill, accepted me as part of his life and was happy for the love we shared. I'm grateful to my brothers for always accepting us and being able to share in our life together. I am grateful that his family finally got to witness that for a time, he was truly happy. I'm grateful that my husband and I have four full length novels that we wrote together that I hope to some day get published. I'm grateful that he encouraged my writing independently from his and was always happy for my successes no matter how minor. But most of all I'm grateful that I knew a love that I will never recover from and for the memories that I hold close to my heart that I will live on for the rest of my life.