My 46-year-old husband of 21 years passed away 7 1/2 months ago. Just typing that sentence makes it real all over again. Who would have guessed I’d be here? Yet here I am. A 44-year-old widowed mom of three.
Nine months ago, just 10 days before my husband went on hospice due to stage IV metastatic uveal melanoma that had quickly ravaged his body, we found ourselves in-between visits from out-of-state visitors. When you have cancer and life is nearing its end, everyone makes their final visits. People come to help because it’s impossible to deny you need help. So we had two days. Just TWO days to ourselves without anyone at our house. I knew in the depths of my heart that it might very well be the LAST two days we had as a family, as a couple, to ourselves.
I wanted to plan something special for us as a family, but it never worked out. On that second night, however, my husband and I miraculously found ourselves kid free at dinner time.
We hadn’t planned this. We weren’t expecting time alone. Yet there we were.
I made dinner. Just a regular old dinner. Looking back, that’s exactly what we needed. A regular old dinner at the table, just the two of us. Honestly, I don’t even remember what I served. It didn’t matter.
It was a tender, intimate time for us, just the two of us. My husband prayed before we ate. He thanked God for his “amazing wife,” for all I had done and all the ways I had been so supportive and sacrificial through our cancer journey. We cried during and after that prayer. It was a holy moment and we knew it.
During dinner, my husband said something so important, so poignant, I knew in that instant it was something I’d never forget.
He asked for me NOT to dread what was next for me, but to be EXCITED.
For context, this came up during conversation we were having about the last 15 1/2 years of our 21-year marriage, how we had experienced so many crazy, challenging, and often times traumatic events. I admitted I was due for “some good times” after all this. My husband acknowledged that there would be a transition period after his passing for me to take care of business, but once all that was cleared and it was time for me to move onto what’s next, he didn’t want me to dread it, he wanted me to be excited for it.
I feel it deep in my bones.
He wants me to be excited.
He doesn’t want me to dread anything.
He wants me to be excited.
That is his legacy and that is exactly what he wanted for me.
Excitement. Zest for life. To LIVE my life.
I said it in the moment and I’ll say it again. I knew this was an important and holy moment. I knew this was something I’d never forget. I knew this was a gift, a treasure from my husband. Perhaps the hardest thing he might ever say to me, but the most important sacrificial gift. This was my husband’s dying wish for me, that I should be EXCITED for what’s next.
So I find myself here.
In this place.
A quiet, beautiful place of true, deep excitement.
I feel it now.
He wanted me to be excited. And I am.
Excited for what God has in store for me. Excited about the possibilities. Excited to take adventures and try new things. Excited to LIVE like I’ve never LIVED before and LOVE like I’ve never LOVED before. Excited to take cool drinks and warm baths, long walks and fast runs. Excited to dive deep and linger long. Excited to cry, to laugh. Excited to make new friends and treasure the ones I have. Excited to hang lights and cozy up on the couch with a warm blanket. Excited to make things beautiful, excited to appreciate the beauty I’ve created. Excited to use my gifts and serve others well. Excited to fall in love again. Excited to say “YES, I do” again someday. Excited to watch my kids grow and find love. Excited to have grandbabies someday. Excited to travel, excited to venture and go places I’ve never been. Excited to feel the breeze blow through my hair. Excited to hang on tight. Excited to live in every here and now. Excited to be a human being. Excited to know I’m not done yet. Excited to know life has not ended. Excited to know it’s just beginning again. Excited to have been given this gift from my dying husband. His final wish for me. To be EXCITED. Hallelujah. I will be, I AM deeply, honestly, truly excited.