Today at a cafe I saw one of Kevin’s co-workers. I wasn’t sure if he knew who I was, but even after they cashier asked my name for my order, I thought he may get a *ding* in his head, but no. I knew him, but he did not know me. Has he already forgotten Kevin? Whose forgotten his memory? Whose forgotten me?
How many people were touched by his life prior to him becoming sick? How many moved by the story of his illness and his zeal to continue fighting against the odds? Who were destroyed by his passing? Who continued with my story as I worked past all those firsts? Who just plain forgot, moved forward, and were unchanged by this history?
One of the worst fears I had as I entered widowhood was forgetting my past. Losing the vision of the good times, the beauty of the memory, and even afraid of forgetting how painful those horrific moments were. I didn’t want to release any of those. But slowly, over time, I let go and released the worst times (although I can still recall them if I dare to) and just tried tocapture in my brain the reminiscence of the happy life we once had.
We go through all this in life: we face many obstacles, but how many of us come out changed? How many unchanged? Who just plain forgot or chose not to deal with this because it was too big for them to handle? Who couldn’t deal? I had to deal, I didn’t have a choice! It was either sink or swim. Be consumed by the grief, or choose to delve into it each second of every day and feel that bitter, brutal pain to move forward. For me, that was the only way, the only “solution.”
Yes, I am a little angry. Am I forgotten? While I do not always want to be classified as Kevin’s widow, at moment’s when I see parts of his and our past, I still am that title. I am that person. At times, I want to be recognized as just that, because when I am not, he feels forgotten to the world. How can a world forget?
These are the bitter moments that slide out on occassion: the ones that make me realize how few people are unchanged by such drastic life circumstances. I realize in those times my strength, my virility to move forward with my life, to acknowledge the changes that needed to happen not only in my own world, but surrounding me to give hope for the future. Hope to the people who are just trying to survive grief, and sarcoma. It puts into perspective why I am continuing to raise awareness.
Some do not want to invest that effort, that time, or the emotional commitment it takes to relive those moments of anguish. Everytime I hear of another loss, or another victim to cancer, I relive that moment, the day of diagnosis, the day of loss, the struggles in between, and the horror afterwards. Every diagnosis comes with another processing of grief and of anger that some people do not, and cannot care.
I am investing this life in changing others. I refuse to give into failure, I refuse to forget, not that I ever could. This world is forever changed, and there has to be some good that comes out of such loss. Do not be unchanged. Be changed.