Tuesday, March 22, 2016

#SOL16: A Widow's Guilt

self portrait (feb. 2016)
Let me tell you a secret.
Something you don't know
but something I tell myself.
I'm Omnipotent.

I should have been able to save Rob,
to save the man I have loved for so long,
to save my teenage son's only father,
but I didn't.
I didn't.
I failed.

I should have known the first hospital
was a grave error,
that the surgeon was a mistake--a careless man
who cannot own his own hand in this.
But I was mute on the matter.

I should have stopped Rob
from returning to that hospital in late September
and taken him somewhere else,
somewhere better, a teaching hospital.
But, I didn't do that and although the death certificate
lists lung cancer as the cause of death,
my husband's death was largely caused
by multiple staph infections,
especially the one that went untended
and kept him from the cancer treatment.

I should have raised my voice more
and said,  No, 
when spinal surgery was put on the table.
I worried quietly that the surgery
would delay cancer treatment
and that Rob would run out of time.
And he did.
He did.

I thought if I kept
everything moving,
everything clean,
everything orderly,
whole foods cooked
and served
and cleaned away,
windows washed,
laundry cleaned and folded,
floors swept,
garbage out by 7:30 a.m.,
son to school and home again,
bills posted and paid
that he would be okay.

I thought if I
was responsive,
problem solving,
on the case 24/7
that Rob would live.
But he did not.

I thought if I implored God:
Save him, God. 
Save him and I'll do anything. 
I'll do everything.
Whatever you deem necessary. 
I'll be that burnt offering on a mountain, 
your modern-day Isaac
willing to be the sacrifice
that my sad prayer
would save him,
but it did not.

To be a widow
is to know
such torment.
I failed you.
I lived
and you did not.


  1. Mary Ann, this is from your heart. Grief is so painful.

  2. hugs to you, I have these same conversations with myself.

    1. Thank you Peggy for knowing. I am so sorry for your loss. I read your post about your husband and John Lennon .


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