My husband Duane and I had been married 20 years when he was diagnosed at the very young age of 48 with metastatic prostate cancer. We were advised he only had 2-5 years to live. At that time our kids were in their early and mid teens. It was devastating knowing how this would impact their future with their Dad. Thanks to the care of excellent prostate cancer specialists, he survived 16 more years until the cancer spread to his liver. After suffering through his various stages with hundreds of drugs, lab tests, radiation and chemo therapy treatments, I wrote this poem on a day when I was spent.
I could feel the toll that the constant medications and treatments were taking on our relationship. I realized that there was more at stake than losing the dream of what I wanted my marriage to be like. I also realized I had a choice about what kind of legacy I wanted our children to have to carry into the future when they would have to face a difficult situation.
In writing the poem, I realized the true meaning of the vows I had taken – that I could, in no way, leave this man I had promised to love “until death do us part”. Even though that love didn’t look the way I had pictured it on my wedding day, I knew I had been infused with God’s love for him and it was His love that sustained me until the end.
Duane died May 18, 2014 at home in his bed surrounded by those he loved. I can say I loved him until the very end. I still do. I kept my promise.
I Promised Him
He’s broken and grumpy
And I want life to be more
Than doctors and scolding
And bad cancer sores
Did I take my vows to suffer?
Did I bargain for this plan?
To lose myself in weeping
The day I took his hand?
That day has now faded
The path is dark ahead
Why should I stay and stumble
Through these thorns of grief and dread?
Why not take a path that’s sunny?
Why not live for ME this time?
Walk away from disillusion
Find a sunny hill to climb?
It could be so easy
I could show you all the way
To make this choice an option
When it’s much too hard to stay
BUT I can’t leave your father –
I vowed, ’til I die’.
There is assurance in knowing
I never told a lie
I Promised him.
Prostate Cancer Foundation (Charity Navigator 4-star Rated)
Thrice – The Weight
“Come what may, I won’t abandon you or leave you behind,
Because love is a loyalty sworn, not a burning for a moment.
Come what may, I will be standing right here by your side,
I won’t run away, though the storm’s getting worse and there’s no end in sight.”
Thrice Official Website