A Caregiver's Response: Our Shared Journey

It never occurred to me that I would outlive my wife Dotti. She was a seminal part of the air I breathed, the flowers I smelled, the fruit I tasted, the flesh I touched, the language I heard. And then one day after thirty-three years of marriage, the phone rang, and her obstetrician-gynecologist told her, “You have cancer.” From the moment of that phone call until Dotti’s passing took a year. It was a year of tumultuous, terrifying, heart-rending events and feelings. It was a year of clinics, hospitals, doctors, nurses, tests, diagnoses, radiation, and chemotherapy. There was a massive surgery, and then more surgery. It was a year of despair, hope, rage, sorrow, love, and faith. These texts serve as a being-there in language during the last months that Dotti, my life’s partner, lived as a beloved human being. During this journey I was changed in ways that I would never have imagined. My words are part of an ongoing attempt at healing and hope.