Today marks two months since Matt died. 58 days in a new reality. Two months without doctors and nurses and neurosurgeons to update. I can’t decide if it feels like it was all just yesterday or if an entire lifetime has lapsed. It’s hard to tell because most of the time, it still just doesn’t feel real. Fifty-eight days later, eight weeks to the day of the funeral, I can’t quite wrap my head around the fact that he is gone, though I live with that absence, that sense that something vital is missing, all day long.
Last year on this day, Matt went to work and I took the kids to the park. I wasn’t with him when he sat down to write an email to the neurosurgeon who did his first surgery back in June 2016, but I remember my elation when I read the response (all those exclamation points, the friendly tone, the personal sign off!) and I’m sure Matt was equally elated. It felt like even this other doctor, unaffiliated with Duke, believed we were on the right track.
From diagnosis through hospice, Matt and I met an uncountable number of nurses and doctors. Many probably forgot Matt as soon as he walked out the door, which speaks more to the number of patients in the waiting rooms than to their capacity for caring. There were some who, fifty-eight days later, I have a reserve of choice word I’d like to share with them and I wouldn’t be surprised if the feeling was mutual in some cases (I’m thinking of you, random Columbia ER doctor…and I actually am very sorry). But there were some who went above and beyond, who treated Matt with their heart and soul, who responded to emails with warmth and exclamation points, and who cried with me the day the final MRI was read. They, too, fought for the day that Matt was cancer free (not cured, only Matt and I were that hopeful) and wouldn’t need to send them updates or MRIs anymore.
I haven’t emailed or called a doctor in two months. It’s the reality we fought for, just stripped of its shine.