An Angry Widow: An Emotional Reflection From My Husband’s Last Days

[Originally posted at]

I have a right to my anger, and I don’t want anybody telling me I shouldn’t be, that it’s not nice to be, and that something’s wrong with me because I get angry. – Maxine Waters

Five years ago I was married. Today, I am widowed. My husband of 23 years passed away of cancer February 24, 2012. In April of 2011, he suddenly found himself with a bad cramp in his stomach which turned into severe pain. I remember that day that I received a desperate call from him all too well.

Two Weeks Notice

I was working for a cable broadcast company and I had just given my two weeks notice. An offer came to me that I could not refuse. I had worked with the company for two years and had taken a drop in pay. Our household was struggling and we both needed to work towards obtaining additional money. A recruiter called me out of the blue about a great opportunity and well, I took it. I was about a week into my two weeks notice when I received the dreaded call.

The Call

My husband was sick. He told me that he was going to the Urgent Care center because he didn’t feel well. He later called back to tell me that they had referred him to the ER. I left work to meet him.

After going to the emergency room and having to be checked into the hospital, the X-ray showed a tumor behind his stomach. It was downhill from there.

I was in and out of the office for two weeks. They were kind and gracious and understood although they knew my final day on the job was nearing. It was refreshing in a way because I would begin a new journey in a field I loved by working from home. God worked out everything because He knew that I needed to work remotely with the new company.

The “Talk”

We were told that he needed a biopsy, which would tell us what the mysterious mass was. We had the biopsy performed during outpatient surgery. I was in the operating room but left due to emotional distress; I didn’t want him to see me. After waiting a couple of hours, the doctor finally came in. He took me to a private room. It was there he told me that Herb had Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. I didn’t know what say or do. I was alone. And…I had to be the one to tell Herb on the drive home that he had cancer. I didn’t want to and hadn’t planned on telling him until the time was right. But when would be a right time to tell someone you love that they have cancer? That was the doctor’s job!

He was slowly coming around and the medicine was wearing off. On the drive home, he asked me, “What did they say?” I ignored him. “What did they say?” I ignored him once more. “Come on what did they say?”

I stuttered until it finally came out.

“They said you have cancer.”

“Cancer? What? Awh man,” he said calmly. He didn’t scream or cry. He was taking it all in…calmly. But he was still a little groggy from the surgery.<