Is it better or worse to know that death is coming?

There’s this woman I follow online named Shannon Dingle. She writes really cool stuff about seeking a more positive definition of faith and trying to get past religious trauma.

Recently, she lost her husband to a freak accident. It truly was a freak accident, the kind of thing you don’t think could ever happen; he was killed by a rogue wave when he was at the beach with his kids.

Now she is left alone with six kids, at least one of them with disabilities and with disabilities herself. Needless to say, I relate to her even more now. I don’t have children with disabilities nor as many children overall. But being disabled and knowing that I am likely to lose my husband at some point in the next few years makes me feel really compelled by her experiences.

Like me, she had been with her husband since they were really young. I’m a bit older than she is but it’s a similar situation. Her husband was her rock like mine is and now she’s having to figure out how to do things on her own. I’m so grateful that she’s writing so honestly about her grieving process.

What I wonder what’s worse: having your husband killed in an instant or after a lengthy illness. On the one hand, I can say that the immediate death after an accident is worse. You have no time to prepare and don’t even see it coming.

But on the other hand, while knowing it’s coming gives you time to prepare, it also means that it’s always hanging over your head. Even when you have a seemingly normal night of relating to each other and being intimate, the thought creeps back in that you don’t know how many more there will be.

What I have to tell myself is that I don’t know when it will be. I’ve been reading a lot of survivor stories and it could be more than 10 years, maybe even 15 years away. There aren’t a lot of studies about long-term survivors but that doesn’t mean long-term survivors don’t exist.

I can’t get caught up in thinking that it’s coming soon. I don’t know when it will be and I try to spend as much time as possible not thinking about it.

My husband gets the results of two CT scans on Wednesday to see how well he’s responding to chemo and to see what’s going on with a polyp in his nose before they can remove it. I’m so anxious I can barely stand it.

I’m so afraid they’ll say the nasal polyp is a sign of metastasis. I’m afraid they’ll say that he’s not responding to the chemo and that the cancer is continuing to grow. The original prognosis was not great and I feel like we need a miracle. I feel like I’ve gotten so many miracles in my life already and I don’t want this to be where they all run out.

I do appreciate seeing that someone is publicly talking about her experiences with grief after losing her spouse. Too few people really talk about grief and think you should hide those feelings because they’re “too negative.” I hope I’ll find my own way through it when it happens to me…which I hope will defy all the odds and be many years away.

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