MORNING COFFEE 46 - in the morning

By Susan Weber

In the middle of April last, we held in our home what is known as a living wake. Knowing that my husband would soon die of cancer, his people came to him in love, one last time. Stories and tributes rose through heavy hearts and sometimes aching voices. There was laughter too. He replied to us with the kindness he’s known for.

In preparing my own contribution to my husband’s communal farewell, I found it impossible to formulate anything useful. But I remembered a recent email to him, one of many messages I’d sent from home after long days of therapy and waiting that defined our lengthy hospital vigil. These words, written in the waning hours of our hope, were mine to share at his living wake. It wasn’t everything I wanted to say, but it fit the occasion and speaks to me still. Here is what I read aloud.

“I liked our conversation today, just being honest that we’re disappointed by how things have worked out but grateful for all the good fortune through the years. We’ve always known one of us would have to go first, but who would have thought we’d be pulled apart so soon? It comforts me to hear you tell me what you want for me in the years I won’t get to be with you. Swim, be with people, see plays, find a way to be comfortable in my life. I will try very hard, dear husband, to follow your wishes. I liked telling you my thoughts about incorporating all we’ve become together into my writing. This way we’ll live on, just as we already do in our children and their partners and in others we’ve touched.

“One thing that consoles me is how you said that when you die, you’ll be at perfect peace. And if there happens to be a way for you to take a look at all of us here, limited by our human perspective, I know you’ll be happy to see us, including me making the best of things and following your advice to be happy. I hope I can find a way eventually to miss you all my days and somehow be contented too. I’ll remember all the good things you’ve told me and modeled in our lives together. You’re such a good man.

"I love you dearly and deeply. See you in the morning.”

Public domain photo by George W. Ackerman