The Year of Living Tentatively

Oh, Michael. It was about a year ago that you started to get sick.

It was such a time of possibility.  You were coming home from the vineyards every day filthy, exhausted, and exhilarated, ready to start back at school and to throw yourself into the grueling hours of Harvest season. I made you take all your clothes off on the deck so you didn't track all the detritus into the house.  You carried your pruning tool with you everywhere ("you never know when you'll need it").  You were happier than I'd ever seen you.  And you had this annoying cough.

Then more coughing, and fevers, and x-rays.  Penicillin, doctor's appointments, washing the sheets every morning after your night sweats.  But a year ago, we were still looking way down the road.  We just didn't know that was our last fall together, and now I can't even remember what we did together.  Did we go to the farmer's market? Indulge at the pub?  Did we work in the garden together, or go for a bike ride?  With innocence came inattentiveness, and try as I might I can't bring it back.

I remember the months that came afterwards.  I remember the phone call when you told me it was Stage IV cancer.  I remember the hospital visits, and the hours in the chemo chairs.  I remember the sickness, but also how brave and determined you were to survive.  I remember crying in the kitchen and in the shower, and watching you fade away from me.  But try as I might, I just can't remember those last carefree couple of months together.

It's been just over 11 weeks since you died, and I am at least ten years older than I was then.  But I would give another decade to have that August back when we didn't know it was our last one.  And I would give two decades more to have you back for this one.