‘We should move,’ he suggested. Looking back, I now know what he was doing. He was preparing to die.’: Widow shares late husband’s act of kindness before his passing

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“I’ve been out of touch lately. Off the grid. I haven’t been writing much. 

I’m sorry. 

Life. Life has gotten in the way. 

I know you all know about that. Between the virus, a weird summer, working remotely, figuring out whether or not school is going to be in person or not – it’s a lot. A lot for all of us. 

I’ve been thinking for a while now about change. I don’t know why, but I’ve been having this overwhelming urge to change things in my life. Big things. And, one of those changes included moving. 

I have to tell you a story before I explain why this move is significant. Humor me. 

When my husband and I first moved to Idaho, I was a stay at home mom. I truly loved it. Every time fall rolls around, I want to take my now-adult kids down to a hobby store and buy every fall craft I can find and sit at the table and insist they do it while the house fills up with the aroma of some kind of pumpkin-cinnamon-spice-something. I want glitter and glue and spaghetti and googly eyes all over the floor. I want the echoes of little voices squeaking out, ‘Look at mine!’ ‘No, look at mine!‘ I want dogs running around aimlessly at the feet of my children sniffing each craft item as it falls in case it’s a morsel. I want the sounds of scissors cutting paper and the smell of paint drying on construction paper. 

I want it all back. 

I want my memories back. 

Courtesy of Diana Register

A year after my husband was diagnosed with cancer, he wanted to move. We had talked about it over the years, but never made any firm plans. So, when he suggested it, I was surprised, yet I wasn’t. Three weeks after we moved two cities over, he died. 

We didn’t even have time to unpack. 

We didn’t have time to explore. 

We didn’t have time to make memories. 

And, looking back, I know now what he was doing. It was the same thing he did on the night he took his last breath. 

He was preparing to die. 

The night he died, he waited until we left the room. I think he knew it was coming. He was not well, that’s for sure. But when I went to walk my daughter out to the car that was waiting to pick her up, he was still hanging in. Until we walked out, and then suddenly, he couldn’t breathe. And by the time we both got back to him, he was gasping for air. As much as he probably didn’t want us there, we were there. He didn’t win that one. And I am glad he didn’t. 

But he did win the moving thing. I think he knew exactly what he was doing as he left us in the right city with the right people. My daughter was a competitive gymnast and he ended up moving us to the town where her gym was, and where my friends were – surely knowing that we were going to need that kind of support. 

Courtesy of Diana Register

And then four years later, I decided to move again – back to the city from where he moved us a lifetime ago. 

Things were coming full circle. 

We were going to get our memories back. 

Yet, once it became real, and we started packing our things and loading the truck, it hit me. 

We were going back without him. 

We were going back to the place where we lost everything. 

And, that was really, really hard. Even after all this time. It was really hard. Hard to go back. Hard to move forward. Hard to face the memories. Hard to make new ones. Everything about grief and living a grief life is hard. 

But you do it. You just do it. 

And you are the bravest and courageous souls out of all of them. Living the life that you planned without the person you planned it with is bold. And daring. And absolutely admirable. 

You keep living, friends, and so will I. And, I will do my best not to let life get in the way so much. 

I miss being here.” 

Courtesy of Diana Register

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Diana Register of Meridian, Idaho. Her books “Grief Life” and “Grief & Glitter” are available in print and on kindle. You can find more of her books here, and her podcast here. Connect with Diana on her author Facebook page, and Instagram.

Read more from Diana:

‘My 15-year-old asked, ‘Mom, can I get a tattoo?’ I let her and no, I don’t care what anybody has to say about it.’: Mom says daughter ‘earned’ tattoo, ‘She showed me what surviving looks like’

‘My husband bungee corded my kid to the backseat. Not kidding. She was 3 years old. I honestly didn’t believe it. But there she was, strapped in a makeshift five-point harness.’: Widow hilariously recalls memory of late husband

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