I’m Your Greatest Fear

Finding an Irish pub in Bruges

Scrolling through Facebook, I came across someone who filled out one of those “get to know you” things. You know… Favorite food, favorite color, place you want to travel. One of the choices was “Greatest Fear.” This person had answered “widow.” So there you have it, I thought, I’m living someone’s worst nightmare.

For a moment, because I was having a good day, I considered responding and saying “don’t be afraid of being a widow, you’ll make it.” But I couldn’t. Because I reconsidered. And she should fear it. She should fear it because it sucks so much. At the same time, these fears are sometimes weird, right? I mean, I could say my biggest fear is being struck by lightning (it’s not), but the chances of that happening are so so slim. But for a woman, well, damn your chances of being widowed are greater than 50 percent.

You might as well face it head on.

I’ve returned to this blog today after a four-mile hike. I thought a lot about a year ago today. We were apprehensive as we made the drive to UC Colorado Anschutz for our first appointment with the liver doctors.

It didn’t go well. The doctor did not give us much hope for getting accepted for evaluation. She didn’t give us much hope of making it to the six-month mark. I cried and cried, talking about the unfairness. She promised she would advocate for us.

The drive home was silent. I am sure Adam was facing his own greatest fears: he had gone too far, taken one drink too many, hit the point of no return. He had no one to blame but himself.

He was tired upon returning home, and we went upstairs and held each other in bed. We snoozed. The atmosphere was thick with grief in the room. We still told each other we would make it; it would be OK.

Around 5 p.m., we went down to make dinner and the phone rang. The doctor. Fear. But then elation as she told us we had been accepted for evaluation. Yes, we understood it didn’t mean we would get on the list.

We held each other again, this time so confident of our future. I told him we wouldn’t be able to go to Star Wars Celebration because he would still be recovering from transplant. He laughed and said, “I should be good by then.”

Two weeks later he was dead.

A year ago I experienced one of the most genuine moments of joy I’d ever had, the feeling that somehow our lives would continue as they were.

I think of this because I know there is one part of my grief I haven’t accepted. My resentment of the transplant team and the transplant process continues to fester. I want the chance to scream at them again. “You let him die.” Alcohol use disorder is either a disease or it’s not. You say it’s a disease. Then treat him.

Maybe my anger toward them grows because the next two weeks of my life a year ago were spent in that hospital.

I don’t know.

You should fear being a widow. Because it’s going to be the worst year of your life, just like Christy said it would.

But you’ll make it through anyway.

One thought on “I’m Your Greatest Fear”

  1. When I first started reading your blog, I can’t tell you how many of your words hit me in the gut. Words that beautifully and tragically hit me over and over again. It’s like you were reading my story out loud. It’s weird that after all these years, I have never felt closer to you.
    I too, loved a man, who is an addict. In the end, his addiction was more than I could take. The first few years, I was oblivious to it. I just thought he liked to have a good time. The next five years, I was in denial that it was happening. For years I made excuses for it, I even contemplated leaving. It wasn’t until my children were born that I realized I had to leave.
    As I suspected, It ended badly. I’m actually lucky to have survived it. He just would not except that it was over. I know it doesn’t compare to what you have been though but in a lot of ways it was like a death to me. A death to the life we had for 18 years. It’s been almost five years now. Its tough, I still suffer, I still hurt. The unfortunate part is that my children suffer and hurt too.
    I saw this quote and when I feel down, feel like throwing in the towel. When I shout Uncle, Uncle, give me a break, I look at this.

    “No one can protect you from your suffering. You can’t cry it away, eat it away, starve it away, walk it away, punch it away or even therapy it away. It’s just there, and you have to survive it. You have Endure it. You have to live through it and love it and move on and be better because if it.”

    Sometimes I wish I could have cried it away, god knows I’ve tried to eat it away. But it remains. I want you to know that I love your words. And I never knew how funny you are. I think you are so brave to put your raw feelings out there. I hope this quote can help you get through tough times. No one can make a timeline to losing someone. Look forward to reading more.


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