I am saying the final good-byes to my husband again – I plan for it, I prepare for it. Once again, I am convinced while I am waiting for blood and urine tests to come back from the doctor that I have bladder cancer and that I only have a limited time left to live. I am the most frightened of the treatment. The last time I went to the doctor my pulse rate was 125. My doctor joked that I was running a marathon in his office. It is mostly the anxiety, but I don’t know which is worse, the anxiety, the paranoia, or always thinking the worst is going to happen.
I have planned my death many times. If I am given a grave diagnosis, I want to accomplish some things before I am cremated and sit on the night stand beside my husband’s head full of thick curly black hair that he loves to have me run my fingers through massaging his scalp with the tips of my finger nails. “It itches” he says. “It gets so hot with all this hair” he tries to explain to me, who has baby-fine hair that gets thinner every year. I want to sit in an urn beside him while he sleeps. I want to be the one who watches over him – forever and always.
If I am going to die, I want to write my husband, who reads everything I write with great enthusiasm and support, twelve letters, one to be opened every month the first year after my death. In the letters, I want to encourage him. I want to remind him that someone, me, loved him just the way that he is. I want him to remember that I never asked or tried to encourage him, or force him, to change. He doesn’t need to better himself or change to please someone. I found him to be put together beautifully – his manners, his compassion, the way he remembers how people take their coffee, the way he puts other’s desires before his own – perfect, no need for improvement.
I want him to remember those things and hold them in his mind and heart so he never feels that he must shuffle pieces of himself around to make a perfect picture puzzle in order for someone new to love him. His pieces fit together nicely and create a mosaic of color and textures that are lovable without further arrangement or trying to get a slightly curved piece to somehow fit into a slightly triangular piece – forcing a fit that will throw off the whole.
I want him to remember that we laughed every day. I want him to remember that he has known love – to be loved, to love, to be in love, he has known it all unconditionally. I want him to know that he experienced that love and laughter for almost twenty years while some people don’t have it for an hour.
I want to have a ceremony of thanksgiving with him where we reminisce about all the wonderful moments and days that made up our lives together. I want the two of us to be able to say good-bye with gratefulness for having had each other not one day, not one week, not one month, but for nearly two decades.
I want to pass from this world, at home, in my own bed, holding the hand of the man who I think is better than every other person on the planet – over seven billion of them.
I want the last kiss to be a kiss from him. I want to see his eyes as my eyes are closing. I want him to know that the story of our love was too unbelievable to write – it is just that good.
I want him to remember that someone who makes you laugh is more important than that extra ten pounds. Someone who holds your hand while you are getting tested for cancer is more important than polished toes and perfect breasts. Someone who will always offer you the biggest slice of cake or pie is more important than someone who knows all the brand names and buys them.
And when he has remembered it all, he can let it go, and give his heart again so that he can try to be a guy who wins the lottery of love twice in a lifetime.