On Friday June 1st, my beloved husband, Daniel, was diagnosed with colon cancer. He is one of the 112,000 people annually who receive such news. The following week he, at age 46, had his first ever CAT scan, his first colonoscopy, and his first consult with a surgeon. On Thursday, June 14th he’ll have surgery to remove the cancerous lesion.
When the news was confirmed, I burst into tears. I had that not-so-subtle feeling of the fabric of my life coming unraveled. But I got to hold him. I got to spend a weekend alone with the man I love, together holding uncertainty in one hand and gratitude for every moment in the other.
Mostly, I felt a deep compassion for those who have death stealth upon them suddenly, with absolutely no warning. I thought of people who have no time to process, to say anything other than “NO!” when they learn that their loved one was killed by suicide, murder, an aneurism, in a car crash. My heart extended in warmth to traumatic grievers.
My heart also opened in gratitude for the amazing life that I have had with Daniel – rich experiences that are imprinted into my being. We have an extraordinary love that is so deep, so vast, and so beyond this world that I can only feel profound and humbled wonder. Do I want more time? . . . yes, of course. But can anything erase this love? No. Never.
I have spent years writing about loss, about grief, about gratitude, about peace, about love. I have never assumed that I am guaranteed to live to a ripe old age – or that my husband or even my children are entitled to become octogenarians. Death does not surprise me . . . nor does cancer.
Still, when cancer came to call, I wasn’t sure if I would slam the door in its face or invite it to tea. Or both. For now, the kettle is boiling. I will watch how my heart opens in love and closes in fear. I will watch how I connect with others who offer their prayers and concern. I will surrender to forces that are completely beyond my power to control. And I will hold Daniel’s hand every step of the way as we learn from our new visitor.
Expcerpted from the Newsletter,
Ashley Davis Bush, LCSW is the author of