There are moments inside each day when I forget that Rob is dying.
I turn to tell him something. Or I'm reading the opening of a book, like H is for Hawk, and I wonder if Rob has read it yet. Or I'm preparing dinner and I turn to ask him if... My response at these moments is always the same: fast sick stomach riddled with surprise. Yes, surprise. The world beyond is held in suspension. For that moment I don't hear, smell, touch or see anything. I just experience the bottom falling out of my stomach and the sick sick sickness that accompanies the shock.
My God, Rob is really dying. He is, really. Really dying.
As I begin to reenter my body, I notice each hand shakes.
And it is only by holding my own hands that the tremors calm.
I've decided that there needs to be some rules about dying.
- You are not allowed to be planning a holiday and five months later be planning your husband's funeral.
- You are not allowed to celebrate your 25th wedding anniversary and two days later your spouse is transported to a hospital where he remains for the next 50 days, before returning home to die.
- You are not allowed to leave a 17-year-old son to make his way on his own.
- You are not allowed to leave the earth before all those conversations you most need to have can be uttered.
- You are not allowed to die on your son's birthday, your father's birthday, or your brother-in-law's birthday, on February 29.
- You are.
- You are not.