Is There Life After Death?
by Nancy Popovich
This is not a question of religious philosophy, nor of personal beliefs. This is a perusal of my own voyage. To my surprise, until recently I did not realize I was on such a trip, or any expedition of any sort for that matter, other than the journey we all take through life.
To backtrack, five years ago, my husband lost a valiant battle with cancer. We were so overwhelmed with dealing with his illness, that we totally missed our forty-first wedding anniversary. Our friends and their celebratory bottle of wine reminded us. Sadly, he lost his battle six months later.
Anyone who has lost a long-time partner will agree that life is never the same after they depart, hence my title question. The truth in my case was not survivor’s guilt. My husband fought for his life desperately and we both valued life and living. Life is a gift and I am grateful. I thankfully embrace every day I wake on this good earth.
Despite the shock and almost apathy that came with the aftermath of the void left in my life, I soldiered on, putting into place plans made together to make the remainder of my life as good as possible; proximity to family and a new start in a new city. Even to me, I was ‘doing well’.
When I was diagnosed with a deadly cancer, I used my experience with my husband’s treatment to make decisions and despite the shock, felt that I took the entire episode in good stride. My own mortality on the line, even life’s little nuances were embraced.
I am an author and have written almost a dozen books. I have a book almost ready now and one in the wings to get moving. But they have stalled. So, what happened? Why have I procrastinated in getting things done? To quote my sister, I can organize the invasion of a small country overnight. I am organized and on task. Where did my get-up-and-go disappear?
This puzzles even me. My life is busy and I travel extensively. So, why have I left this one important part of me lapse? And then, Eureka! I understood.
My first novel, the one that I revisited, centred around the immigration of my husband’s family to Canada, an homage to them and all immigrants. Many characters from my following novels spring from this source. I wrote several novels while he was ill, sitting in the family room with him and my laptop. He was so proud that I could do that.
I had no idea that I was still depressed about his passing until I realized that the first two years I was simply coasting in life. Year three brought about an acute understanding of where my life was at and a realization of how much I missed the closeness we had.
Year four has brought some understanding of my reactions and decisions. I consider myself fortunate to be alive, to have a good life and to enjoy my family and friends. And, it has also forced me to accept those things that in many ways, I have not embraced since I became a widow.
If you know someone recovering from a partner’s death, do not judge their actions and reactions. Everyone deals with their loss differently. It’s called life after death.