Who knew? This has been a very difficult time, which I didn’t expect at all. Grief takes you on its own journey, and, although you can try to dictate the terms, in the end, it always has its way with you. Ironically, leading such a social media-connected life has contributed greatly to my current sense of loss.
Despite being private people by nature, Bill and I decided that we would live our lives as publicly as we could stand because we had grown up without lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender role models. The same applied to his journey with cancer and his death. I also have tried to do that with the stages of life that grief continues to take me through.
Painfully, though, Facebook and Timehop remind me every day of where we were and what was happening in our lives a year ago. They provide a visual and written reminder of hopes we had and how we found them dashed again and again.
Bill was admitted into the hospital one year ago for the first, and only, time in his life. I stayed in the room with him every night. Although that was a year ago, it feels like I can recall every single moment of that time: our conversations, the procedures he went through, watching as my beautiful friend and soulmate wasted away. It seems impossible to stop those tapes from replaying, and equally impossible not to think of a million things I wish we had done or said.
Who knew that a year later the pain of grief could be even greater because I don’t have Bill to be strong for? Although I am very glad he is no longer suffering, those last few weeks we had together, when I was able to take care of him, are the most precious and sacred of the 35 years we spent together. He hated thinking he was a burden, but a part of him knew that letting me care for him was the last gift he could give me. Despite the pain of grief, I am eternally grateful for that gift.
I’d give everything just to care for him again a little longer. Perhaps we all need to give others the gift of letting them show their love for us while there is still time.
Rev. Michael Piazza