I’m trying to start this post but all I can think of are cliches.
When Michael had his surgery in August 2015, we were so optimistic that it would end his cancer struggle. We were so looking forward to putting cancer behind us and moving forward with our lives.
Well, we did. Just not with our Daddy with us.
But I’m jumping ahead. After his surgery, Mike was trying really hard to get back in shape and get strong enough to go back to work. But no matter what he tried, he just couldn’t get his energy level up, couldn’t get his appetite to improve. About two months after Henry was born in October, Mike went in for a check up at the hospital. They did scans and found that the cancer had come back, his fourth diagnosis. We were crushed. Doctors started him on chemotherapy and radiation but by February 2016 they took away what little hope we had left. They said there was nothing more they could do for Michael and they gave him about 4 months left. By that time the cancer has spread into his liver, spine, pelvis, spleen cavity, lungs, ribs… There was just too much and his body couldn’t take any more, and the treatments weren’t working.
Unfortunately, by that time Michael was so weak, doing any exciting trips or vacations were really out of the realm of possibility. We spent quiet days at home with our new baby, took a couple short trips to nearby Palm Springs (Mike loved sitting in the heat by the pool) and just spent quality time with family and friends.
Less than three months after getting that news, my husband Michael passed away. He died at home on May 5th, 2016 at about 3 in the afternoon on a Thursday. I cried and cried over his body, not even caring who was around or who heard me, I clutched his hands, his arms, his legs, not wanting to believe he was cold and gone. After that outburst I went curiously numb and stayed that way for days.
We held his funeral a few days later on a Monday. I didn’t cry, I just felt numb. I think part of me didn’t want to accept that it was all over, that my life with him was all over. I had been with this person for the past 13 years of my life, since I was 17 years old. I’ve never been an adult without him. I really, really thought he would survive all this cancer and we would go on with our life. It would be a hard life and he would be disabled, but we would still be together.
Our former catering company donated the food for the event and a wedding event venue we used to work with graciously allowed us to use their facility for no fee, as well as a DJ. A lot of our friends and family were there, overall it was a very nice day.
It’s been over a month since he passed away and I’ve already hit a couple of milestones: his first birthday after his passing, the first father’s day. It’s been incredibly hard. Every day I have to convince myself to keep going, to take care of our son who’s just 8 months old. I miss Mike every day and I think about him and the life we had together all the time. I have a new life now, a life I never thought I would have, a life I never wanted.
When I pictured myself having children, I never expected to be doing it alone. I don’t think most single mothers do, but I was confident Michael and I would never split up. I know that Michael didn’t want to leave us and he desperately wanted to be a father. He would have given anything to be here to help me raise our son together. He was so looking forward to all the things he would teach our son one day. But now it will be up to me, and sometimes I’m overwhelmed by the prospect.
This is our new life, for better or for worse. Henry and Mama take on the world.