If before August 10th, 2014, you had asked me if I wanted any sort of do-over, I would have answered no. Because at that point in my life, I liked the woman I had become and all of my life choices had led me to the people I loved so dearly.
But, on that day, my perspective changed. My husband, best friend and business partner, Garry, learned he had stomach cancer. Garry was private regarding matters of his health. He really didn’t want anyone to know he even had cancer. So, I don’t want to share too much about the ordeal out of respect to him. Just know that stomach cancer is horribly cruel.
What I can tell you is I quickly became obsessed with the idea of traveling back in time to fix Garry and get our old lives back. I was so mad at myself for not taking the symptoms seriously. Why didn’t I just make him a doctor’s appointment? Instead, I got annoyed with his sluggishness and complaining. Just writing about this starts to push down on my heart pressing the guilt out and sending it through my arteries. I wanted to go back to when the symptoms of indigestion first started in 2011 and take him right to a doctor.
The following year-and-a-half felt like we were stuck on a spike covered gerbil wheel, never really knowing if a respite was in site. We did have moments of great hope and then triumph; and then superior disappointment, until Garry lost his life on January 13th, 2014. From that day on, my regret drove me to obsessive thoughts of “what if?”
I had a horrible feeling Garry was trapped in time on January 13th 2014. And as I continued to live, I moved along the timeline, regrettably moving farther and farther away from him. All I wanted to do was reach back in time and pull him forward. I wanted to share in the joy of watching our boys grow. I wanted to have my wacky weather man back. I wanted to have my old life back, to be that woman I had grown to like.
So, at that point, if you were to ask me if I wanted a “do over,” I would hysterically respond yes.
But, as we all know, none of us can ever get a “do over.” At least, not from a specific point in time gone past. We can change our attitude and behavior going forward, but never back.
I turned a corner around the holidays. On the inside, I was feeling more and more regrets and more want for my old life. I wanted to be the old me more than anything. I just wanted to be happy again. Then someone made a simple comment, “You’ll never be the old you. How could you be?” And with that insight, I let go of the notion that things could ever return to the way they were. Garry is gone. I am a different person. I have to move forward. While I may still have regrets and guilt, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I view life differently than I did before Garry was sick. If anything, I should be more appreciative than ever for the life I have. For having been so lucky to experience true love. For having two beautiful boys in which Garry continues to live.
This past week, Garry would have been 43-years-old. Rather than picturing Garry trapped in that horrible day in January, I had a different image in my mind. I imagined him all around us, moving forward with us on the timeline, as we continue forward with our lives. Life can change so quickly, time is moving faster. I can’t live in the past, or I will miss what is right in front of me.
Thank you for reading.
ARTWORK CREDIT: GATEHOUSE by Krzysztof Iwin
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