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The Prayer of An Empty Soul

The emptiness is deafening.

Imagine having your soul pulled out of your body, only then you can imagine my days of late.

Recently, I had a TV appearance about the new magazine in town that ran my article about my wife’s final hours. A day later I was a guest of honor at that same magazine’s inaugural launch party.

It has been three days since the event, but I find myself still empty, burned out, completely void of feelings or purpose. It took an enormous amount of energy to talk about her passing to so many people in spite of my promise to her that I would not stop care giving. The nonchalant conversation about their family’s loses to cancer weakened me. The talk about how my writing has helped families I will never meet just reminded me of every second of the most honorable, but deeply painful years of my life.

If life were perfect, these same people would be hugging me, telling me that I served honorably and it’s time to move forward. Instead, it was an evening of reminiscence, a bonding of suffering souls to each other because suffering souls seek comfort in numbers.

Yeah, I wrote an article and yeah, I wrote a book, but I also seek the same comfort the suffering seek, and I was denied that. I was expected to provide comfort without reciprocation. I was expected to be the guy in the article, strong with infallible clarity of understanding of suffering and dying. That ain’t me, at least not now.

On my best day I can go almost two hours without mourning. On my worst, maybe two minutes.

I admit that I expected as much support as comfort I gave, but that didn’t happen. It didn’t even come close.

I felt like a gas pump. You show up, buy a drink, and you get a gallon of distilled comfort from someone who “understands”.

The truth is my pump is dry. The deepest truth is my pump was never filled even while caregiving.  I borrowed energy from fumes, from rumors of strength. I need to remember how to do that because the people I comfort seldom offer comfort in return.

Honey, I love you profoundly and I promised that I would continue caring for others like I cared for you, but I cannot mourn and motivate in the same day without your help. I need the same graceful strength you showed while you suffered so profoundly.


I will not quit. I will give until I am empty in honor of you, but WE are stronger than ME, and I ask that you share your strength with me so I can help those who are new to the path we walked together. I miss you with every breath, but I will share you with every word I am privileged to speak to families who struggle with the meaningless pain that is cancer.






One Response to “The Prayer of An Empty Soul”

  1. Alberto says:

    I took care of my wife since she was first diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer during May 2010. She was a non-smoker. I always took care of her but I decided to ask hospice for help during February 2, 2015, my wife passed away at our home on February 10, 2015. We never talked to each other about how we would miss each other after death and I think it was mostly my fault since I had convinced myself that she would continue to beat the cancer. This has been a heavy burden on me and I wish that I would not have been so selfish. I will always love and miss my wife of 41 years. Sometimes I regret a good night of sleep because when I awake, for a moment I forget that I am alone.

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