I sure wish I could plug something funny or colorful in here, but I'm afraid it's just not happening today. Saturday is my wedding anniversary and I think I could cope with that okay. But it's also a new anniversary that is a lot harder for me to deal with.
When Kathy and I were in the hospital last year at this time, there was a big whiteboard in her hospital room that listed the many different kinds of chemotherapy she was getting, and a series of boxes to show how many doses she'd received and how many were left to go.
Eventually, it came down to one last dose of one last drug - but the nurse forgot to check the box. Kathy instructed me to pick up the marker and fill in that last "X," which I did.
"That was my anniversary present to you," said Kathy - for indeed, it was our anniversary. "I did this round of chemo for you, and that's the last of it."
We had agreed that this would be the case. She'd had more chemo than she ever wanted and she'd done it for me. So the only thing left was to wait to see the results. Two weeks of waiting followed by a painful bone marrow test.
That test showed that Kathy was almost, almost in remission. No cancer cells could be detected by the human eye...but more sensitive computer sensors found a tiny amount of cancer still lingering. Which started another two week wait as prelude to another test. Would the chemo still in her body kill off those last cancer cells?
We waited- me with hope, Kathy without. And again she had the bone marrow test and we awaited results. Results that were eventually given to us by a soulless automaton of a doctor's assistant: the cancer had again exploded out of control. And that was that. There was nothing more to do.
The next day we were in "hospice" at another facility. Actually, just a standard room in the Alzheimer's wing of a nursing home, staffed by people who couldn't speak English. Kathy received no medicine or treatment of any kind. And together we waited.
Roughly two nightmarish weeks later she was gone.
And so this anniversary - the first anniversary of Kathy's exquisite and painful final gift - is going to be a rough one for me.
And I'm embarrassed to be inflicting this on you good folks, but you are my friends and I could use a virtual hug or two.
I love you and miss you, Kathy.