Caring for my dying husband was the best time of my life

Ten years ago, my world as I knew it ended.

My husband of 19 years, the father of my two sons, was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Over the course of seven months, Bill went from beating me silly on the tennis court to needing my help to go to the bathroom and bathe.

It was the best seven months of my life.

Maybe I don’t actually mean that. But it was certainly the time when I felt most alive. I had lived 42 years before I heard the phrases “we have a problem … multiple metastases … on the brain … probably in the lung as well.” I had become a respected professional, a responsible and, I hope, loved parent, but I had yet to discover the reason I was put on this earth. During those seven months, I came to understand that whatever else I did in my life, nothing would matter more than this. Even though I really didn’t know how this would end.

For me, there were no bad days. I discovered that the petty day-in, day-out grievances of an irksome co-worker, a child with the sniffles or a flat tire pale in comparison to the beauty of spontaneous laughter, the night sky, the smells of a bakery. Some days were more difficult than others, but there were moments of joy, laughter, tenderness in every day — if I was willing to look hard enough. I found I could train myself to see more beauty than bother, to set my internal barometer to be more compassionate than callous. But I also discovered that with each day, my heart and soul grew more open to seeing this beauty than at any other time in my life.

– Miami Herald

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