Posted by: carolyn / through a widow's eyes | July 13, 2018

beautiful hot perfect summer day

(Trigger warning? – This is real life.)

July 12 – It is a beautiful, hot, perfect summer day. My sister is marrying her beau, her beloved, her best friend. They are so happy. I am wearing that long linen turquoise sleeveless dress that makes me feel so pretty. I have made the wedding cake as my gift to them. I have designed and re-designed the decorations for the cake so that someone else can decorate it if I can’t finish it, if everything suddenly goes south.

Our daughter Anna attends the wedding and reception with me. My husband Jeff is too sick to go. He doesn’t leave the house anymore. Nor can he be left alone. His sister has driven four hours to stay with him so that we can go to the wedding. She is staying indefinitely. He is so ill that Anna and I solemnly discuss the very real possibility that when we get home from the wedding her daddy may be dead.

But of course he isn’t dead. I am jumping to conclusions again.

He lives another four days. He doesn’t die until Friday.


July 12 – It is a beautiful, hot, perfect summer day. My friend and her beau, her beloved, her best friend eat a leisurely breakfast at their favorite spot. Waffles and corned beef hash. They are so happy. They discuss the lovely weekend spreading out before them. They put on bathing suits, shorts, and Tevas, and drive to their other favorite spot, that secluded bend in the river. She watches from shore as he tosses tennis balls to the delighted dog. She watches from shore as her strong handsome darling dunks under the water.

She watches from shore. He doesn’t come up. She thinks he is kidding around.

He isn’t.

He drowns. Before her very eyes.


July 12 – It is a beautiful, hot, perfect summer day. I am back at that place I never wanted to see again. I am back at the cancer treatment center again with my mom. The place I avoided for so long is now on our regular schedule. We’ve been coming here for almost two years now, after I spent the previous seven years driving in huge irrelevant arcs so I didn’t even have to see it from the highway. Mom and I are in the treatment room. I know most of the nurses. Most of the chairs are full. The clear liquid drips into her outstretched arm. She is willing; so far the benefits outweigh the risks. She knows what’s inside her will kill her. I am sitting beside her scrawling words on paper. So many words have poured out, for so many years – most of them get thrown out but at least they’re not inside me anymore. I have to open this vein and bleed out words or what’s inside will kill me.

My mom and I discuss lunch, shopping, errands, upcoming family visits. We discuss everything but the cancer which will kill her and probably soon, unless something else gets her first. We keep on going because we can, and because we have to. We keep on going because what else is there to do? Because love and connection and service to one another are all that matters, all there is.

It is a beautiful, hot, perfect, summer day. We keep on going because it is our sacred duty to make the most of it for those who cannot.


  1. Aiy, Carolyn. This IS real life.

    Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

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