I can tell Brad’s time is growing short. He is much weaker and now struggles to hold up his arms. This morning the doctor shared that his digestive system has grown quiet as his body saves its reserves to keep his lungs breathing and his heart beating. He sleeps almost around the clock, but during the brief moments he is awake he doesn’t recognize me or find my efforts to comfort him soothing. I can feel him slipping away.
I recently was listening to one of my favorite playlists of pop songs and was struck by the words of 5 Seconds of Summer’s song, Amnesia.
The refrain goes,
“‘Cause I’m not fine at all
I remember the day you told me you were leaving
I remember the make-up running down your face
And the dreams you left behind you didn’t need them
Like every single wish we ever made
I wish that I could wake up with amnesia
And forget about the stupid little things
Like the way it felt to fall asleep next to you
And the memories I never can escape
‘Cause I’m not fine at all”
Do I agree with this sentiment? If each of us had the length of our lifespan stamped across our forehead, would I have gone ahead and married Brad? The experience of facing a spouse’s death has been gut wrenching. I never dreamed I would have to deal with it at the age of 52. It was supposed to be far down the road of life. We were looking forward to enjoying our retirement years, spoiling grandchildren, and growing old together. The pain of losing my friend, companion, partner, lover, and provider has been indescribable. I vacillate between feeling panicked, overwhelmed, and grieved. Sometimes I can’t breath due to the sensation that a hole is being ripped open in the middle of my chest. Would it have been better if we had never met? To lose the beautiful memories of meeting over Sinbad’s restaurant ice cream freezer, staying up all night long making out in his mom’s new Buick, taking home our newborn children, or cuddling on those lazy Saturday mornings as we dreamed about our future?
Then I am reminded of the words of Lord Tennyson’s poem,
“hold it true, whate’er befall;
I feel it when I sorrow most;
‘Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.”
At times I am in so much pain, that I have wondered if the grief will consume me. But, even if I could have seen Brad’s short lifespan written on his forehead, I still would have said “yes.” I believe the beauty and mystery of this amazing relationship with Brad has changed my life. I am more for having known him. It indeed has been much better to have loved and lost Brad, than to have never loved him at all…