Showing posts from 2021

That's how this works.

This day last year, Ramón walked out of our house for the last time. In the days leading up to his transplant admission, he spent more time than usual loving on the dogs. He assured them how much he loved them and said what I deemed – even at the time – to be his final goodbyes. It was wearing on me because I didn’t want to think about Ramón’s mortality; I'd already spent more than my fair share of time thinking about death. Also, after all that I’d learned about acute myeloid leukemia (AML), the cancer itself wasn’t really something to take his life out of nowhere. Instead, in Ramón’s case, maybe in the months or years [or decades] after his transplant, we’d learn that the cancer had recurred, at which point we’d try more treatment options. On one of our many hospital walks during the previous admission, Ramón asked me what actually caused people with AML to die. From what I’d read, the most frequent cause was infection and the body’s inability to fight it due to lack of immune sy

Bless my heart.

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Sealed with an X

In the fifth year of marriage, I'd finally gotten the hang of identifying as "married" after never having envisioned that for myself. Now I find myself checking another box. It took a fraction of a second to create that X, yet the route that it signifies spanned almost 9 years. Sealed with an X.

The gossip on grief: Six months later

 “People ask me how you’re doing,” my dad said on a walk one morning. “I tell them you’re doing surprisingly well.” As I nodded in agreement, my dad asked if it was a choice I’d made – to handle Ramón’s death well. I wasn’t really sure how to answer that question because I didn’t consciously decide, “Boy, this sucks, but I plan to handle it well.” Instead, my life has been a revolving door of grief, and, though it never gets easier, it becomes more familiar and less permanent, even in times of deep despair. My grief experience began at a young age when I started living with the anguish that cystic fibrosis would cut my life short. When I was a junior in high school, my first good friend with CF died. The day I moved into my college dorm freshman year, another friend died. Less than a year later, it happened again. On the subsequent go-round (Are you losing count?), I got to go say goodbye at the hospital. The next time was another hospital experience, though we didn’t arrive in time. F