Wednesday, March 5, 2014

To My Husband...

I've been meaning to write this post for quite some time. And I keep starting it and then saving it for later. If I was actually really smart, I would have posted it on Valentine's Day...or maybe wait until our anniversary...and then it could double as a gift.

But why not now?! And based upon my own "life's too short, tell people how you feel" mantra, I shouldn't delay. And since he only occasionally keeps up with the blog (reading it is kind of like having flashbacks for those of us in the trenches), he will probably never see this anyway. And I'm sure if no one ever tells him it exists, we could start a betting pool to see how long it would take him to read it...

Dear Keith,

We have been together forever. And then some. There are very few memories I have that don't include you. We have weathered some major storms in our lifetime...more storms than two people should have to face. Each time we plowed through hoping to simply get out the other side with minimal damage. But, to be honest, I think each trauma left it's mark on both of us. 

It is no secret that the past few years (pre-cancer) we were not friends. It might even be safe to say that we didn't like each other very much. I don't think anyone in our family was happy. One stressor too many had just pushed me into a place where I didn't care any more. And now that I can look back on it, I am so monumentally sorry for those shitty years. I'd give the world for a do-over.

Like they say, be careful what you wish for. Because now I get the do-over, but I had to go through hell to get it. 

No one knows what it was like for me these past 20+ months. But, if anyone comes close, you sure do. You've been there in the trenches every step of the way.

I'm sorry:

...for all the times that people asked, "How's Keith doing?" and I had to say that I didn't know. I'm sorry if it sounded like I didn't care. But I just didn't have the strength to care about anyone but myself.

...for all the times that you had to hear me say, "I'm done with treatment, and I don't care if that means I'm going to die." There were days when I really didn't care about leaving you and the kids because I was so over the entire process. And I'm sure that makes me a bad person, and you might have even thought I was terrible for thinking it, but you never said so. And you let me rant. And you promised to agree with me (even though I know you really didn't). 

...for all the times that I said, "gawd, get out of here, that food smells." But it really did. Who'd have thought trail mix could smell so awful?!

...that I don't have any idea what it was like to be you throughout this ordeal. 

...that I will not be a good caregiver if our situations are ever reversed. I am going to suck at it. I've considered running you over with the car instead. You might hear words like, "suck it up," "get over yourself," or "you think this is bad?!" I cannot imagine going through this process again, and I'm not sure that I'll be able to come up with the requisite sympathy. Though I will be able to bring the jokes.

Thank you:

...for running to get crappy McDonald's milkshakes and bland chicken noodle soup at all hours of the day and night because those were the only things that I could eat for days at a time. And for making three different kinds of soup until we found one that worked. And for heating it up until it was just the right temperature. Lord, I sound like Goldilocks...

...for laughing with me throughout the entire process. And at the doctors. And getting yourself put on the "no-fly list" at one of them. (Kidding). Thank you for appreciating my morbid sense of humor. Perhaps it's not the most healthy, (and you do realize that our son has it also, so we might not win the best parents award), but laughter was definitely needed on many an occasion.

...for respecting my wishes to be alone during chemo even though EVERYONE thought that made you a bad person. The looks they gave you...

...for shaving my head. And bringing humor to the situation. And for shaving your head for all those months.

...for finding my Katy Perry wig!

...for telling me you'd do whatever I wanted when it came to treatment options. And for backing me up when I went against medical advice. You had some pretty hard shoes to fill when I needed to find friends to sub for you at various doctor appointments. 

...for being there every day. And taking care of me so completely. I will never find all the right words to express how I feel. And I can never say thank you enough. 

Please know:

...that I am so grateful that we have the same outlook on life now. And what the future holds. And where we want to be.

...that I intend to live a life that is all about being happy.

...that it is unlikely I will ever go through treatments again. Every day I saw all the old people going through chemo/radiation/both and it made me so monumentally sad that this was how they were spending their last days. Sorry, that is not going to be me. 

...that we've both come out the other side of this completely changed. And I think it's a good thing. And I think that means that we get a do-over on life...and love...and us. 

Love, Me


  1. Damn you! You put me in tears! So thankful that Keith was just who you needed when you needed him the most. And thrilled you have a long life ahead of you both to enjoy much, much, better times. :)

  2. Wow. I can't imagine what you and your family have had to endure Shauna. My challenges were trivial in comparison. I'm sure I was a poor husband and father but it took everything to just try and be a good human.

    Thank you for sharing something so personal, it's quite brave. It's good to see a happy ending.

  3. Wow, powerful testimony. You two have been through some tough times recently... and I'm glad to hear that you have come out the other side. They always change you - it seems like for the better, and I'm sure you are thankful for that. I remember you both from RHS, though Keith was a year ahead I think. He was a solid dude then, and it sounds like he's been quite the foundation for you since. Not surprising, but good to hear all the same. As for you Shaunna, you've got quite a lot of moxie, and a fine writing style. Your family looks happy, and with you on the upswing, they are no doubt over the moon. Stay well, and best wishes to you all from your old pal Scott Rice.

  4. I am sure you and Keith hear this often. You guys are amazing. I am in awe with your ability to overcome these trials and tribulations. You are truly an inspiration. I am proud to be able to say, "Yeah...I know Shauna !"

  5. Hope you don't mind my saying so, but you're adorable looking. Such a sweet story. Wish you everything good.