Widow Wednesday: Complicated Questions

“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.” ~ Theodore Seuss Geisel

I found that quote months ago; it hit me hard and I haven’t been able to shake it. I’ve been thinking of it constantly for 6 months.

There has been a hard question hanging over me for a long time. Almost seven years, in fact. It’s not a question that anyone else has asked, and I don’t think it’s one anyone would even *think* to ask. I was scared to ask this question because I didn’t know if I could handle the answer if it was “Yes.”

Because a yes might change the way I thought of myself. The way I felt about the last 20 years of my life – maybe my entire life.

My question was…

Was I so angry with Mark because of the difficult life we had together, that, when the time came to decide whether to keep him on life support or remove him, I let the anger make the choice? Did I let my husband die…or even worse, did I kill him?

Now, I know this was a purely emotional question. I followed the results of the tests, I know…I *know*…there was no brain activity except for the most basic functions, I saw the scans, I saw his body fighting infection after infection. I listened to all the doctors, and I listened to Mark. We’d had talks about what would happen if either of us was ever in a vegetative state (thanks to the Terry Schiavo case from the summer before). I knew that he didn’t want to be in that state once everything had been done to bring him back. I know that there was no coming back…and yet.

So, after I admitted to myself that this was a real question, one that I was really and truly scared of hearing the answer to, I decided to ask. Because I needed to hear what others thought and then deal with it, whether it was yes or no.

I asked William first, and he answered, “Are you asking me this because I should be worried? No. I don’t think I married a black widow or a murderer. You don’t have that in you.”

I asked my friend, Christie. Christie was my friend and boss for 8 years and had some idea of both how hard my married life had been and everything that lead up to this decision. And she said, “Absolutely not. You don’t have that in you.”

I asked a friend who is a medical professional and she said, “No way you would ever do that. Ever.”

I can not begin to tell you how relieved I was. How huge a weight was lifted from my shoulders with those answers. Because I don’t know what I would have done if these people had thought I might have let Mark die, if they thought I didn’t fight hard enough for his life. I was and am so very glad that the question was more complicated than the answers.

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  1. You are incredibly brave to ask yourself that question and then actually give it a voice and allow others to hear it and reply. It is a scary doubt you carried for so long. I am happy for you to have the peace that comes with facing something so huge.

    1. Kimberly~Thanks for coming by. I appreciate your words. I debated writing this post, but you never know when something might resonate with someone else and help. Who knows if I would have written it if the answer had been yes 😉

  2. Oh my friend. I am so glad you wrote this, so glad. It definitely resonated with me. I have asked myself that too, so many times. I was so mad at Gregory, mad at him for drinking again after rehab, mad at him for not going to the doctor when he fell, mad at myself for feeling like I failed him. Over the weekend I found the last picture I ever took of him before he went into the hospital and it has stirred up my need to get my story out, and I think you and your bravery just confirmed that i need to do it. XOXO times a million, and thank you.

    1. Kim~I’m so glad my words helped. I hate when our brains and our hearts are disconnected. I’m glad I’m not the only one with the wonky thoughts. XOXO

  3. I’ve asked myself something like this. And J didn’t even have basic brain function when we made the decision. But there’s always that doubt in the back of your head when you “let” someone die.

  4. I so love you for this, but I agree with Christie and William. Those days while he was in the hospital and the months after…you were devastated. You don’t have it in you. And not just to make a decision like that out of anger. The you I know pretty much doesn’t have it in her to do anything immoral or unethical or that even whiffs of impropriety. You’re an amazing person whom I adore. And, you’re wicked funny. Just sayin’. xoxo

    1. Jennifer~Thank you, my friend. Sometimes it’s hard to remember. Or to know if what I’m remembering is really the way it happened. Love you!

  5. I love you so hard. That’s not even a lie. And it hurts my heart that you carried this for so long. You are an amazing woman who has gone through things that I can’t even begin to imagine and yet you still have a beautiful (albeit irreverently sarcastic 🙂 spirit. And I agree with them all. You don’t have that in you. Nope. Not a bit.

  6. Ohmyword, what a brave, transparent post.

    I love that you put this out there – to your real life loved ones, and to your readers.

    It shows an awful lot about you.

    And the complicated question with the simple answers? Total and complete weight-off-of-shoulders-er.

    (Fabulous post. It’s lovely to “meet” you.)

  7. IMHO…the very fact that you would ask the question is the very proof that the answer is that what you chose, you chose from a loving and good place. How tough but how brave and I have to say honorable that you dealt with this and shared it.

  8. Thank you for sharing this. I know it will help others who may not even be aware of the unspeakable questions that plague them. Just speaking the question out loud affirmed your inner power.

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