Telling our story is cathartic for me. So, when I find someone I can trust, I tell it. Over and over. I don't know why it helps, but it's a little like letting some steam out of an always boiling pot.
Sometimes, when I don't feel I can trust the person or when I simply don't feel like telling it all again. I give the abridged version: my husband got sick and he died.
Something I've had to try to come to terms with is how fast it all happened... and sometimes I wonder if people think he just gave up. It shouldn't matter, and it truly doesn't, but if it is someone who didn't know Jason it hurts to think that they might be thinking "Wow, he didn't even try?". To be completely honest, I've wondered that once or twice myself. But then I remember.
My husband was no quitter. He left a comfy corporate job to start his own company the very year that the housing market crashed. He didn't give up. He reworked his business model and thrived in a market when contractors were going belly up left and right.
He started working on his bachelors degree while working 70+ hours a week, with a depressive wife and two small babies at home. He didn't give up, he graduated with honors.
He overcame a few years period of addiction long before I met him, pulled himself up by his bootstraps and didn't give up.
Whenever he picked up a new passion, he had incredible hyper focus until he mastered it. He learned and failed and sometimes got yelled at by his wife for neglecting family time and while he would sheepishly pull back and re prioritize, he did not give up.
He found poker when he connected with a group of old friends and found something that would be a true passion in his life. He studied game theory, applied it to both his game and business and quickly became a better and better player. He learned the wisdom of when to fold, when to bluff, when to go with gut instinct and when to choose analysis and odds over gut instinct. He was an excellent player and would sing me that terrible song "know when to hold em, know when to fold em..." and I would throw a dish towel at him and laugh.
When he was first diagnosed, he was ready to fight. Had the circumstances been any different, he would have won a few more years at least. But as the horror of what was happening to his body increased daily, as we got more and more confirmation from the medical community that all pointed to the same end, he chose to fold. He made his decision and it went against his fighting spirit in every way. But, with the grace of someone far past his age and wisdom, he chose to let go.
I was, and still am, fiercely proud of him. I hope I can be half as gracious when my time comes. To me, he is a warrior... no less than those who battle for years, trying everything they can and enduring so much to simply stay alive.
He saw what could be and chose the path that he could live with for what remaining time he had.
So in this season of awareness, of celebrating survivors, of raising money for more education, more research, more more more... I raise a glass to the ones who could only choose to let go. To the ones who simply didn't get a chance to fight.
To you, my love.