What do you want? Why do you want it? How do you want to feel?

Who asks these ridiculous questions? Who the hell knows the answers to these questions? I certainly didn’t when my husband was diagnosed with a terminal cancer, nor did I ask them when he died or for the years following.

Do people really ask questions like these? Do I really have a choice? Do I get to pick what I want? Do I decide how I want to feel?

It’s been just five years now since that frightening day when my husband and I parted ways; he off to glorious heaven, the land of soft, billowy clouds, a bright glowing light summoning him forward, of beautiful angels welcoming him with a warm embrace. I left behind, exhausted, in a heap on the bed, actually deep under the covers, rolled up in a ball, scared to death to peek out at my future.

What do I want? What?! What kind of question is that? I want my old life back? How about that? Or do I? What do I really want?

During those two years that Peter suffered, all I wanted was for the hell we were living to not be real; for it all to be a bad dream that I could wake from. For those two years, I stood beside him as he writhed in pain and confronted his greatest fears. I searched for foods he could keep down. I drove him to and from the hospital. Held his hand as chemicals filled his veins. I protected him from outsiders wanting to visit when he was too weak to talk. I kept him company every single day. By the time he died I thought all I wanted was for him to die because I didn’t want him to suffer so horribly one more day. All I wanted was for his pain and mine to end.

But just as he left this physical plane and pain as we know it … my pain and suffering went full throttle. What did I want then? I wanted him here to sit with me when I needed company, to hold me up when I could not stand on my own, to wipe my tears, to feed me and our family, to pay the bills, to support me when I most needed his support.

Do we in pain and grieving such a great loss get to ask, What do I really want, why do I want it, how do I want to feel?

We do. In fact we must. We don’t have to ask today. But let’s commit to keeping those questions alive in our hearts, even as we suffer. Even when it seems impossible that we will ever get what we want. Let’s dream big dreams even when dreams don’t seem possible. Because they are possible. Even for us.

What do you want?
Why do you want it?
How do you want to feel today?