Long-time blog readers know I lost my husband to lung cancer in June of 2019. He was diagnosed in January of that year. They unsuccessfully tried to remove the tumor in February. Started chemo and radiation in March. Was feeling terrible by the end of April when he broke his neck. The cancer had moved and ate the bones in his neck leaving him with a broken neck that was never going to heal.
The day he broke his neck, we took a scary drive to the local ER and they transferred him via ambulance to the larger hospital. It was a terrible day.
Of all the times in the year when I miss Kramer, the last weekend in April is always the very hardest. There’s not a specific day that’s hard as the drama of it all unfolded over a few days.
Some people when talking about death say part of them died on the day their spouse died. For me, that was this weekend when he broke his neck that part of me died. I knew there was no hope he’d ever be himself again.
He wouldn’t “goose” me when I went up the stairs. He wouldn’t drive where we were going and I’d stitch along the drive. We wouldn’t go antiquing and fix projects together. He wouldn’t be handling a to-do list. He wouldn’t be able to ever go back to work. He wouldn’t be able to be a fireman or a first responder. He wouldn’t be the man he prided himself to be.
I will always say the hardest day of my life was the day he broke his neck. It wasn’t for him though. He was still hopeful. He was still confident and that’s what hurt me even more.
I could see it was bad. I could see the change. He didn’t…I could no longer be his reality check because I didn’t want to hurt him. I just let him believe as long as he could…but I knew. I knew and it was so hard to be feeling so broken when he couldn’t see it.
I think it was then I started mourning his loss. He lived another five weeks after that. Four of it was mostly with him still hopeful and me hopeless. I fought to not let him see my real feelings. For the most part, between the drugs, he was on and my acting job, it was okay.
All of that comes back to me at this time of year…the hopelessness I felt then can still drag me down today…
I had a little sprig of sunshine though. I got a note from Hannah. Many of you know Hannah and her Dad own the farm where Kramer worked.
“If you’re a fellow Midwesterner, you’ll probably agree that Thursday was fantastic weather-wise. Sunny and warm! A REAL Spring day at last! Aaaand now it’s Friday and we’re back to chilly rain. It’s hard not to feel a little discouraged, especially when you were born impatient and it only got worse (me).
So, we’re looking to the bright side on this gloomy Friday.
While working on my college final this afternoon, I needed to do some mapping. I switched my phone into street view and discovered a treasure. Our pal Rog, in May 2018, waiting (perhaps just as impatiently) for the google car to pass before heading on his way.
There’s a bigger narrative about patience here, but I’ll let you find it yourself. “
Hannah attached these two pictures to her message… That’s Kramer in the farm truck.
She enlarged the picture but it got a little blurry.
Awe…I was happy to see him again. My favorite pictures ever of him are ones like this when he was working and just being himself…long before the cancer diagnosis…long before he broke his neck…long before he left me.
I kind of felt like this photo coming was a little serendipitous. It came when I needed it.
No worries…I’m okay. It’s all part of the grieving and sadly, there is still grieving to do. I am just thankful that the big grief only comes occasionally now. This last week has been my time but it will pass…it always does.