Today I am finding it hard to be grateful.
In my head, when I tell myself I am grateful for ....
the car rental
it feels shallow, insincere and like I'm just saying it. Ya know...to get it over with
So I stop.
And in that space, that space that I am often so afraid of, I find
In the nothingness I have been feeling for days comes the truth.
365 days ago was the first time Art said he didn't feel well.
He called his doctor who said, "It's not cancer. Your tests from last month are clear."
And from the stop, the pause, the release from the force to feel grateful comes one giant
What if I had insisted the doctor see Art?
What if I hadn't gone to CT to help my mom move?
What if I just got strong and firm and said "I am bringing him in, you need to set up an appointment for a test. You will do it. This is my husband."
And the doctor would have too.
And I wonder, if I had, if we had caught it earlier,
before he lost 20 lbs.,
before the embolisms formed and found their way to his lungs,
before he was so sick and weak
Would he be here to romp with us at the ranch?
Would he be here to ride with Ezra on the ATV, to watch Pallas on her first trail ride, or teach her to drive the ATV solo?
Would he be here to sip the good wine, reminisce about our first visit over 6 years ago.
And in my mind, I believe he would be. He was strong, a quiet force of nature. He would have made it if he hadn't been so sick when we first caught it.
I am not God. I cannot say for sure. But I was his wife. I watched closely as he fought the first battle and I saw the defeat the second time, before I knew what to call it.
I am not responsible I tell myself. But ya know what....a small piece of me doesn't believe that. I saw him through the first time and I believe that somehow I failed him the second.
This has nothing to do with logic. Nothing to do with facts. Or really to do with Art's part in his own health. Guilt is not logical. On this day, and the days leading up to the moment I choose to write this morning, it is what I believe.
I know this is part of the process of walking in the grief. Of making it to the other side that promises wisdom and peace and softness in knowing that fallacy is a just as much a gift as success.
My thoughts of failing him explain my fear of H1N1. If I failed him then, how can I possible trust myself to make any good decisions for the kids, now. My perceived failure in those earlier days before we knew it was cancer come alive in me every time I have to make a health decision for my kids.
So on this Thanksgiving, today. I am grateful for ...
I don't know.
I guess I am grateful that these thoughts will clear. And that maybe in the next breath, or the one after, I will be able to forgive myself, lessen my power in keeping him alive.
In the next breath, maybe, I will laugh at how Art missed Ezra trying to sneak up on a lamb, confident that the lamb nor its mother knew he was coming and then say to me "Mom, it's like they knew I was trying to catch them. Next time....pause....I will make them think I am just going for a walk near them."
"Next time" I say to myself. Next time...I am grateful that the next breath give me a "next time."