On death and dying

This has been a strange week, what with the Boston Marathon and West, Texas, and I know I should probably be writing about that, but something else happened and it’s what stayed at the forefront of my mind.

On Wednesday, I had to go sign some documents with The Husband for the never-ending saga that is the house reno, and since we were done early we managed to get a rare, quick, lunch together. We were chatting about his brother’s baby’s christening that’s in a few weeks, planning travel (it’s in Milan) and dinner out with our friends and whatnot, and I remarked on the fact that I thought his brother would have asked him to be the baby’s godfather, whereas they decided to ask the other uncle and our niece. And The Husband’s matter of fact answer was that they made the better choice since his life expectancy wasn’t very good, and then he went right back to eating his sandwich.

I was kind of shocked and speechless by his answer. I was also surprised to be shocked and speechless. I know his life expectancy isn’t very good. He signed dozens of documents when he was undergoing treatment that stated that he understood the risks of chemo, and radiation therapy, and the transplant and blah, blah, blah. He’s been on some heavy duty drugs for the three years now. We know. But, since he’s always seemed so removed from his illness, he always seemed to do everything the doctors told him, but without ever truly thinking about it, he seemed to ignore the illness and his recovery in a sense, I always thought he avoided thinking about all the negative implications.

It shocked me because I had never really thought about the fact that he lives his life with the uncertainty of seeing his children grow up, with the thought that at some point, some possibly not too distant point in the future, he’ll leave me a widow and our children orphaned.

It shocked me to imagine that he doesn’t think he’s going to be around very long.

How do you live like that?

The leukemia is in remission, he should be relieved, he should be looking forward and thinking about his future, instead with every handful of pills he takes every day, twice a day, he thinks that his life expectancy isn’t very good.

I realize I’m not saying anything new, we were aware of this, but I never really thought about it, about how it impacted him (ridiculous, since he’s the one it’s impacting daily). It just made me really sad for him, to think that this is how he lives his life, with Damocles’ sword overhead. So with tragedy and death all around us these days, this is what I’ve been thinking about, the uncertainty of life and the gift each day that we have really is.

5 thoughts on “On death and dying

  1. This made me cry some. I never thought about that either, that he has to live with that every day. It’s sad for him and for you and for the children. Each day really is a gift, I hope you all have loads and loads of them ahead of you. xoxo

  2. Hi Bonny,
    Yes, this rings a bell – two actually. As you point out the difference between your outlook on life and your husband’s, my husband and I both are extremely aware of death lurking around the corner. I guess the fact that he is in and out of the hospital constantly, lets Damocles wave his sword over all of our heads actually.
    Why should your husband feel all relieved and looking forward to the future? Please don’t get me wrong here (!), but I truly believe one can never understand how someone else is experiencing something. The things I’ve seen at my husband, i.e. the amounts of horror he is constantly facing, made me stop judging his behavior and opinions. Remission one day is never a guarantee for the next…
    All the best for your family,
    ciao Roos

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