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We're friends, not doctors, financial or legal professionals, and we're not "grief experts." But we are here, and we've been "there."

This is the week.

This is the week Ron finally went to the doctor, after I came back to Jakarta from the US for my father's memorial service and came back with a raging respiratory infection and Samantha's asthma was acting up so Ron was 3rd to go to the doctor.

This is the week where Ron looked at me across our bedroom and said,"what if it is something serious?" and I said, "It won't be, but if it is, we will deal with it."

This is the week where after the ultrasound the doctors said that they didn't have the right equipment so Ron would need to go to Singapore for further testing.

This is the week where I was up all night chanting please no cancer, please no cancer, please no cancer.

This is the week where Ron. alone in Singapore, called me (coincidentally on the day that Steve Jobs died) to tell me that the mass they thought was on his gallbladder was actually a large mass on his pancreas and that it had already spread to his lung and was advanced/stage 4;terminal. He called me on skype but our connection was weak so there was no video. All I could say was, okay, okay, okay as he gave me his news. I don't remember much else about the conversation. That night the refrain in my head was I am going to lose my husband, I am going to lose my husband.

This is the week where my husband told me he was going to die while I was watching a house full of 6 and 8 year old children and couldn't react to the news. They were splashing in the pool when he called. Something additional inside my heart and mind was irreparably broken by that need to act as if everything was normal when I knew that my husband was alone with the news that he was going to die and our world had just imploded.

This is the week that I stood on a soccer field and watched my girls practice as doctors from the US and Singapore called me to make sure I understood that Ron's illness was terminal. They kept telling me and even then I couldn't understand why they were being so emphatic. I wasn't arguing or resisting. Maybe my quiet made them think I wasn't hearing them? I never knew why they kept drilling that into me over and over again.

This is the week when they told me "your husband is sick and needs immediate treatment, you could do it in Singapore but we recommend you come home and come home permanently". We'd uprooted our entire lives and moved to Indonesia so we could be together as a family. Ron traveled to Asia for work and we hated being apart so he got a new position and we all moved. It took half a year to just get ready to leave the US and we'd only been there 4.5 months. They wanted him to leave immediately but we knew he couldn't travel alone (I couldn't let him travel alone) and we needed to leave as a family for the needs of all of us.The girls were so little. They told me to pay attention to if he got a fever. What the fuck was I going to actually do if he got a fever on a 14 hour flight?

This is the week where the plane ride was both terrifying and comforting. We were in this alternate reality where we were together being given food and blankets and neither in Jakarta or the US. I remember asking the universe to crash the planes. I wanted us to all die together. I didn't think for one second about the other passengers. I just wanted this terror and pain to go away. I was mad when the planes safely landed.

This is the week where Ron's family met us at the airport with two cars. His brother took our girls and our stuff and his sister took us directly from the airport to the hospital where they were expecting him. We'd been in airplanes for 21 hours. I remember we were actually laughing at times, it all felt so surreal and we knew we were smelly and needed showers.

This is the week that started it all and I couldn't have imagined all of the unimaginable things Ron and we would go through.

So this week, every year and all these years later, the trauma that lives in my body surfaces. It is overwhelming but it isn't scary anymore. I know what I need to do-exercise, breath, try to cry (sometimes that is hard for me), see a counselor for some booster sessions, take anti-anxiety meds when it gets unmanageable. My intellectual brain thinks each year maybe I won't be affected by it this year but my body/heart says otherwise. I know next week will get a little softer but smack in the middle of it, all I can do is breathe and breathe some more, hug my girls tight and maybe more than they want and remind myself that this happened in the past. Right now we are safe, right now we are okay. We are okay. We are okay.

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Comment by Ava on January 10, 2020 at 6:37pm


I love to read your posts. My week is coming in February. I am already anxious about it. Our husbands died from the same disease about the same time.

Pretty soon is going to be eight years, but the weeks is coming! 

Comment by Mrs.Linda on October 20, 2019 at 5:33pm

This is the week that was the last week of my husband's life last year.  The one year anniversary is this coming Sunday.  This week last year he was on hospice and the hospital bed was in the living room. This week last year I watched my husband slowly die.  This week last year he could no longer eat nor could he get up and my brother and I cared for him and changed him and bed bathed him and prayed for him. This week last year I was a married woman. This week this year I am a widow of one year.

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