I’ve been so preoccupied with getting my books ready for publication that my reading of other blogs has suffered over the past few months.  I was therefore blindsided when I paged through to Suz’s blog, ‘Shining Pearls Of Something‘, and found that her husband had been diagnosed with cancer, out of the blue, and died on June 30th.  I’ll let her tell the rest of the story.

In spite of this wrenching loss, I think I’m one of the most fortunate people on this planet.  I spent twenty-five years married to a man I never deserved (no, I’m not being modest) and I have a family whose love, kindness and generosity defy description.  I also have more friends than I ever realized.  I am humbled and overwhelmed by the kindness and the offers of support and help that I have received from so many readers, both here and at AVfM, most of whom I have never met in person.  I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Emotionally I’ve been somewhat numb, out of necessity, but not completely shut down.  Back in early June, when Mac and I came home after his CT scan, and his doctor called to send him back to the hospital for admission, I was looking over his shoulder as he wrote down what they found on the scan.  (I have since thrown out that scrap of paper, but those words are forever etched in my mind.)  I knew right then what was coming but none of us knew how fast it would happen, and the panic attacks started immediately.  I hid most of my fear and grief from him because I didn’t want him to worry about me – and he would, especially being too sick to offer me much comfort.  But I learned how to cry again.  I don’t cry often and I rarely get upset, but there was no denying I had a lot to cry about and I couldn’t pretend otherwise.  I spent those three weeks grieving, both for what he would face and for what I would face. Of course he hid his fears from me as well; I might try to convince myself that he had no idea what was happening in his body while we waited for a diagnosis, but I’d just be deluding myself.  He was hoping to regain enough strength to fight the cancer, at least for a while, but he knew where it was heading. And I now know that he was protecting me and carrying his burden even more quietly than I was carrying mine.  Like he always did.

It is just such realizations which bring the tears.  While stumbling through estate paperwork and attending to the many tasks I need to accomplish, I keep tripping over so many things he has done for my benefit, things he did without my knowledge, never expecting a word of thanks.  And I’m absolutely certain there is much more that I’ll never know.  He never “kept score.”  He never expected praise for his praiseworthy actions. He simply, reflexively even, did to the best of his ability, what he knew he needed to do.  Right up until hours before he died.  And not once since I’ve known him has he complained that it wasn’t fair, even when it really wasn’t fair.  Maybe he took pride in being a man I could take for granted, while I tried hard not to take him for granted.  I guess I’ll never know, but I sure wish I could have at least a few more years to try to even the score, that score he never kept.  I know I was a pretty good wife, but he was a man who deserved so much more.

I probably won’t be writing with my heart on my sleeve any more; it makes me uncomfortable anyway. I’ll continue to move forward now, but a part of me will be kicking and screaming along the way for quite some time. I just don’t want to leave him behind. I believe he’s with me in spirit and I know that his personality has largely shaped my personality, so he’ll never be entirely gone.  And I see much of him in our son.  I know that those ashes buried in a bronze box in his hometown are not what I treasure of him, but it was so hard to walk away from his grave.  My life is not empty or meaningless, and I suspect it never will be, but there’s a Mac-shaped hole in my heart that I couldn’t fill even if I wanted to. I’ll have to get used to that.

There’s more at the link.

Suz . . . I’m sorry.  I wish I had more comforting words than that, but I don’t.  There aren’t any, at this level of loss.  I lost a very dear and beloved friend to cancer in the same way, a decade ago.  From diagnosis to death took only ten days.  It hurt, very much.  You’ll be in my thoughts and prayers.

Friends and readers, may I ask you, too, to say a prayer for Suz, and for the soul of her late husband, Conard Brewer McCarley Jr.?  As John Donne put it:

No man is an island, entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less,
as well as if a promontory were,
as well as if a manor of thine own or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me, for I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know for whom the bell tolls.
It tolls for thee.

Please head over to her blog, too, and leave her your good wishes.  I’m sure she’ll appreciate them.



  1. Thank you, Peter. As it happens, I started reading Take the Star Road while sitting various waiting rooms. It was a much needed distraction, and I'm looking forward to finishing it in a better frame of mind.

  2. @ Peter

    Regarding being too busy to keep up with blogs, I hear you. I haven't been able to drop by Sarah Hoyt's place in a while.

    @ Suzanne

    Sorry to hear of your loss. You loved him, and he loved you. I can hardly imagine how overwhelming it must feel to lose him.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *