Doctor and DeLorean, Wells and Bradbury.
We live to create magic and wonder.
So how can I not wonder and wish for second chances?
How can I not rewrite our story?
“This isn’t your normal back pain.”
How to make you believe your panicked husband from the future?
“Why don’t I come with you to the doctor?”
Push him to look past chronic pain and degenerative disk disease.
Just one test.
Just one tube of blood, drowning in white.
Would one more month give the butterfly time to flap its wings?
“The password is ‘Large B-cell Lymphoma of Germinal Center Cell Type, Non-Burkitt’s Type. Double Hit Type.'”
We have to be more aggressive than the enemy.
But who would believe me
as I sit by your bed and wait for you to return from your cursed sleep?
Test after test, every minute waiting, wasted.
The ER nurse said she’d never seen a WBC so high.
You were always the overachiever.
Were we too late before we even started?
“Let’s go for another walk in the wheelchair.”
“Why don’t we visit a little longer?”
“Can I read you one more story?”
Was the ending pre-written?
If I can’t fix the destination, can I rewrite the journey?
Hawaiian beaches and Alaskan glaciers and faithful geysers and lands of imagination.
The Eiffel Tower and the Australian reefs.
Someday can be today.
Fight less. Forgive more.
Use the lessons of the future to rewrite each chapter.
All the while, knowing a real monster waits at the end of this book.
The end of your book.
Every night, rereading each scene.
Reliving each moment.
The blank emptiness of the final pages.
If I were a better writer…
A better husband…
A better friend…
I’ll carry your story in mine, in every chapter to come.
some random internet person
May 15, 2021 @ 10:46 pm
I had wondered if I was the only one who did this.
Peace and comfort to you, Jim.
a cat by any other name
May 16, 2021 @ 7:03 am
One of my friends called these “grief-quakes.” My greatest sympathies. And this is beautiful.
(I finally started following your blog after many years of enjoying your “viral” posts.)
May 16, 2021 @ 9:53 am
Thank you for the poem. Thinking of you and your family.
May 16, 2021 @ 10:06 am
Hard to read through tears
May 16, 2021 @ 1:38 pm
Thank you for sharing the poem. It’s been just over a year since I lost my husband. Cancer sucks. I’ve had similar thoughts. But not the words.
Rie Sheridan Rose
May 16, 2021 @ 3:25 pm
Powerful and extremely moving, Jim.
May 17, 2021 @ 10:23 am
Heartbreaking and beautiful and good advice. And when that “what if” demon attacks your thoughts, please know that you WERE an excellent husband and friend, never doubt that about yourself. Your love for her was as apparent then as it is now. You honor your wife, and you were a blessing to her in her darkest hours. I wish you peace, my friend.
May 20, 2021 @ 2:48 pm
Beautiful. I found your blog following a post about author incomes. I didn’t expect to be reduced to tears in the first stanza. Thank you.