And one morning, when I left the hospice to feed our cats and make some calls, Frank died.
A chaplain led me by the hand to her office, and I sank to the floor, crying, deeply sad--and guilt-ridden--that I had not been with him at the very end.
The path that led me from wife to widow had been long, crooked, and painful.
I had spent the previous two years watching my husband fight, with grace and heartbreaking optimism, a rare and aggressive form of esophageal cancer.
When his cancer briefly disappeared, I rejoiced with him; when it reappeared, we despaired together.
And this, the only appropriate designation, felt hard-earned.Frank's sickness and death belonged to him, but they had changed my life, too, making demands and requiring sacrifices.