At Sea


Summer, 2010: Mark and I, in the car after he’d finished what we’d thought would be his last radiation appointment. He ended up walking down that long hallway several more times. In the end, it was radiation, not cancer, that killed him.

I thought I’d be scrambling to find things to do this week. When I realized that my children would be out of town for six days, and that I would be alone here in this house, I started telling friends “I’m gonna need to be busy every night of the week, so get ready for the phone call from me begging for company.”

Didn’t happen. I’m fine. I keep waiting to fall apart, but it hasn’t happened yet. Must be the heat. Too miserable to be miserable.But then again, I’ve had plans with good friends twice this week. And last night I finally made it to a bereavement group for people whose loved ones died because of cancer, also known as The Club That Nobody Wants To Be In.

Nobody had a lot of advice, which was a relief. It was just about sharing experiences. There were only four of us in the room. All four of us had lost our spouses. Three of us have children. Two of us weren’t there when our loved ones died. One of us had a decade-long battle; another had only a very few months between diagnosis and death. Some have had a couple of years to adjust to the loss, some of us were coming up on the first anniversary, some of us (okay, me) have just passed the three-month mark.

Three months, Mark.

I’m doing okay, better than either of us ever figured I would – certainly better that I ever thought that I would. Working 40 hours a week. Taking care of home, as best I can. Taking care of self, starting to. I even went to the doctor, and then another doctor, and then another doctor. (It takes a lot of care to overcome stress.)

I miss my husband, every day. I miss our life together, and our marriage, although I certainly see the cracks in “us” like I never did before. Grief forces introspection, and brings up so many questions that can never be answered. Daily life is a minefield of “this time last year” flashbacks, and almost none of those are good. As much as I miss Mark, I would never wish him back to live through the agony again, not just so I could go back and do something better and ease my mind and heart.

I hate cancer. I hate cigarettes. I hate Big Tobacco. I hate cancer.


About Vicki Caroline Cheatwood

Writerly. Rebooting. Evolving. Searching for great chicken salad.
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3 Responses to At Sea

  1. Kim says:

    Thanks again, Vicki, for taking us on this journey and this port, both reconciled and fraught.

  2. dehelen says:

    Me too, Vicki. I love you. I hate cancer. I love you, I’m glad you’re taking good care of yourself.

  3. Thanks for sharing. Cancer ultimately took my father and I agree that I would never wish that agony on anyone. Continue to care for yourself 🙂

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