As I was driving my son and myself across the Brooklyn Bridge into New York City, I couldn’t help recalling the saddest time in my life. Almost two years ago, I stood vigil with my husband as the cancer he’d battled for several years took him from us. We spent the last few days discussing his triumphs and the things he’d failed to do in his lifetime.
Charles was a good man. We’d met in college and married my senior year, me already six months pregnant with our son, Chad. I had a difficult delivery and we wound up having only the one son, although we tried for more children over the years. Charles was a good looking man, light brown hair and brown eyes, a stocky wrestler’s build (he went to college on a wrestling scholarship), a winning smile and the confidence of a man who knew what he wanted and was able to get it. Mostly, it turned out, he wanted me. I fell in love with him the first time I saw him. We quickly became passionate lovers and then married with Chad on the way.
We had several wonderful years together. Chad was twelve when the cancer first appeared. Over the next four years, my Charles fought it valiantly before finally succumbing to the disease. Chad, now sixteen, stood by my side at the funeral, the spitting image of his father who would have been proud of the man his son had been forced to suddenly become. Over the two years since we buried Charles, my son and I have become very close. I doubt I could have gotten through my mourning period without my son to lean on.