Too often, people take life for granted. I know, I am one of these people. I’d like to think I am invincible but the fact of the matter is, I’m not. No one is.
This past weekend has been full of sorrow and despair but at the same time, it’s been a happy and freeing on. Nearly three years ago, one of my husband’s best friends was diagnosed with cancer. He was in his lower thirties. It hit my husband hard, he had just lost another close friend/family member due to almost the same exact kind of cancer just prior to that. My husband’s friend used to be our old roommate. At the time, there was 8 of us living under the same roof. My husband, who was my fiancé at the time, our three children, (Mr. DD hadn’t been born yet), and his friend, his fiancé, and their daughter. The house was crowded and there was always tension in the air. We had two separate families, who raised their children differently, all living together. We had our bad days, mainly my husband’s friend and I, but we also had our good days.
When they moved out, we were all excited for our own space. After time, I started to miss living together. I started to miss all the pointless arguments his friend and I had, and always trying to top one another. I was young, naïve, and thought I knew it all. Despite our differences, the good times out weighed the bad. Countless barbeques in the backyard, kids’ birthday parties, and many funny nights of his friend having more to drink than he should. Their family had been our family. They helped me in raising my daughter. They were there for us when we needed help. Because that’s what families do, they stick together.
When they moved out, we promised we would still visit each other but we never followed through. Life got in the way and the visits were few and far in between. And when my husband’s friend got sick, my husband stayed even further away. He couldn’t cope with it. He couldn’t see the man he loved as a brother deteriorate in front of him. Finally, after pushing and pushing him long enough, last Saturday the two of us made it over to see them. His fiancé had told us it was bad and there wasn’t going to be much time left but that didn’t prepare us for what we were about to walk in to. When we arrived, my husband-the man who doesn’t ever cry- broke down in tears before we even walked through the front door. It took nearly twenty minutes and comforting by his friend’s fiancé before he was able to walk inside the house. And then he cried again…
My husband isn’t the kind of person who wears his emotions on his sleeve but that day…he let them all out. He cried for his friend, he cried for the time they missed out on, and he cried for not getting a chance to tell him how much he valued their friendship. His friend was barely coherent. He got up once to use the restroom, his body fragile and broken down from the disease, a sight that broke my heart. The house was full that day. It was full of love and sadness. Family and friends came together and all cried and held one another. I sat off to the side, not saying a word, and trying to be strong for my husband because I knew he would need it. Before we left, my husband hugged his friend, kissed his forehead, and whispered that he loved him. I almost lost it then. We spent the rest of the day talking about all the good times we all had and all the trouble they got into together. I couldn’t help but smile at how animatedly he was talking about his friend and all the good memories.
The next day, Sunday March 2nd, at 10:45 pm, my husband’s friend lost his battle to cancer. He was only 35 and passed away from lung cancer. To say it was a shock would be a lie, we knew it was coming, it was only a matter of time, but it didn’t make it hurt any less. My husband tried to go to work yesterday morning and came home after only an hour of being there. He was not in the right frame of mind. Later in the morning, we took off and headed to their house. His fiancé was trying so hard to keep it together and stay strong. There is nothing else she can do. We hugged, we laughed, we reminisced, we cried, but more importantly, we remembered. It was a bittersweet day yesterday. On one hand, we all wanted to cry and yell how unfair life was. On the other, we were happy he is no longer in pain and no longer suffering.
My husband’s friend left behind a wife and 8 year old daughter. In trying times, his fiancé had never left his side. Not once in the 14 years they have been together and not once when he was sick. She is the epitome of what a strong woman is and what it means to stand by the one you love- in sickness and in health. Things may be hard now. I know the pain is something that will be hard to get over but in time…things will get easier. The loss her family has suffered and the loss we will feel is a reminder to not take life for granted and that it is too short to sit back and let it pass you by. It’s a reminder to embrace life and love with all your might. It is a reminder to never let things go unsaid because you never know when it might be to late. It’s a reminder to tell your loved ones how much you really love them. More importantly, it’s a reminder to live life to the best of your ability.