Today is my birthday. It also is the eighth month-i-versary of the day my beloved took his last breath. If you've been following our journey, you know that Doug and I wondered and talked about self-love very often after he lost his penis to cancer. Doug wondered whether he was enough - for me, for the world - and I wondered what it would take for both of us to embrace our new reality.
We believed that self-love was essential and, both of us being writers, we wanted to find an adjective that conveyed not only the relief that self-love would bring, but also the struggle that would be required if we were going to overcome the painful, negative, fearful thoughts that ran amok in our minds. We decided that nothing short of Absolute Self-Love would get us through, and we helped each other remember that self-love was an option on those days when despair or self-loathing seemed the only appropriate response to our circumstances.
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Each time I share a post about my grief process, I receive well-meaning comments encouraging me to trust that Doug is with me, is proud of me or is okay. The thing is, I already “know” that. Very often I can sense Doug’s nearness and I’ve received messages from him, which I cherish.
What feels the most painful to me in this moment is not my mind’s understanding of where or how Doug is, but rather something that I don’t think most people talk about, or maybe even think about – it is my body’s experience of loss, the profound absence of my body’s favorite companion.
“Stop it!”… “Stop it!” Those are the last words I heard my beloved say.
Even though he was receiving a steady and very high dose of Dilauded through his pain pump, the day before he died Doug awoke in a panic about every 90 minutes, grabbing wildly for the pump so he could get an extra dose. And even though the extra dose was immediately dispensed, it was too slow to protect Doug from the intense pain that the ever-growing cancer inflicted throughout his body, from his thighs all the way up to his chin.