Getting the News is like a Big Earthquake with Lots of Aftershocks

I have found out the hard way that losing a spouse is one of the most stressful events in one’s lifetime. I saw a study that this type of event ranks at the top for stress, but I will never begin to understand divorce, losing a child or other traumatic events. Regardless, the emotional toll on my body has been enormous.

I will never forget that fateful time in October of 2016 when the doctor who examined my wife came out to talk to me in the waiting room. She almost looked pale and said, “we’re going to look at this and take care of it.” At the time, I really didn’t know exactly what she was talking about, but I did have an idea.

On Thursday morning, October 20, 2016. I’m trying to wrap my head around the news that the love of my life, Sally, may be stricken with cancer.

My friend Tom once told me, “you can only be shocked once.” There is a lot of truth to that statement, but the “aftershocks” of that news kept on coming after feeling of what was the biggest earthquake of my life.

I’m tried my best to be strong for my wife while going into my office to cry. I’m tried my absolute best to be positive and not let her see my breakdowns in my office. The last time I cried was when my father died over 15 years ago. Since then, I lost track of how many breakdowns I’ve had.

I knew something was wrong for quite some time, but getting her to the doctor’s office wasn’t easy. I could do was to there for her and tell her it’s going to be fine and “life your life,” which she did. I told her for a long time that you live life to its fullest, because you never know what’s around the corner. You see and read how this type of thing happens to someone else. Well this time, I’m was that someone else.

Not to sound like it’s about me, but I would have traded places with her in a heartbeat. Honestly, I always thought that something like this would happen to me, not the other way around. At the gynecologist office, I had to call my big sister, Susan, and give her the news. It literally took everything I had to not to lose it on the phone outside of the doctor’s office.

In the beginning of all of this, the doctor did say that it does look like cancer, but uncertain how far it has progressed. I remember taking the phone downstairs, away from the possibility of Sally hearing the conversation. All I remember was that he said, “it’s not good.”

The rest of that day when we got the news, was sitting and watching TV as we both dozed in and out of shows we had on our DVR. She was on vacation from work, but some vacation. Without children, we would spend the time off visiting family members or try to see new places. From this experience, I tell my friends to “take that vacation” or “appreciate what you have,” because as my stepfather, Rich, told me, “tomorrow is promised to no one.”

I awakened the following morning as Sally went downstairs. Hard to sleep when it’s “not knowing,” or fearing the absolute worst scenario. In the back of your mind, you know that one day something will come along and turn your world inside and out.

 

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