Living a Dangerous Life

Good things happen for no reason too.

Apr 20, 2011 by

Everyone knows it’s dangerous to, say, ride a motorcycle or eat saturated fat, but somehow we miss the inherent danger of being alive.

My husband died of acute leukemia.  In June of 2008, we were living ordinary lives.  In July, I took Dave to the doctor for what we thought was diverticulitis, common to 45 year old men and easy to cure.  In August, he was trapped in the hospital on chemotherapy and by the end of September, he was gone.  The whole hospital episode, from diagnosis to death, took six weeks.

Is it any wonder it seems to me that we barely control anything in our lives?  Trouble will find you, even if you’re perfectly still.  What kind of world is this?  The raw truth is that it’s a world where the person you need the most can be taken from you with no warning.

It’s awfully harsh, I know, and no one wants to hear this.  “They did something wrong,” we all want to think to ourselves.  But don’t blame me, I’m just the bearer of bad news.  Nobody knows why people get leukemia.  A person doesn’t get hit by a car because of careful deliberation.  Lightning never explains itself.  Some things happen for no reason, or at least a reason we mere mortals could never hope to understand.

It’s alright, though.  Good things happen for no reason too.  Don’t forget that.

After Dave died, nothing made sense.  I had seen or talked to him nearly every day for 13 years and I knew he would never leave me if he could help it.  And then he vanished before my very eyes.  My heart was certain I would be allowed to follow.

It was like being in a waiting room.  I was waiting to disappear, to vanish, to be stirred into the medium of the Universe, like sugar into iced tea.  “Why am I still here?”, I would ask myself, surprised, a dozen times a day.

I refer to those days as the “insane period” of widowhood.  I jumped right back into the dating pool, contrary to all decency, where no doubt I was subconsciously trying to duck the horror of what had happened.  I got a new job.  I remodeled and then sold the house.  I traveled.  I saw friends.  I went to the gym every day and never went home until after dark.

As long as I was moving, I wasn’t in that hospital room anymore, watching Dave suffer.

My friends circled around; protecting me, helping me and making sure I didn’t self-destruct.  People I barely knew brought me food and showed up when I needed them.  Friends in different states opened their homes, giving me a place to get away.  Even the company I worked for stepped up to the plate, in its impersonal and benevolent way, making it possible for me to move away from the ghosts of my old life.

Today, more than two years later, I am still alive and living a life I love.

The very act of living is dangerous, but don’t panic.  Most of the time, everything is fine.  Sometimes, though, things fall apart and then it’s our relationships that save us.  Like a tree in a strong wind, we won’t find security in rigidity.  We don’t have that much control.  Our friends and neighbors give us the flexibility we need to bend and sway with the times.


About the Author

Bonnie Simon Has Written 35 Articles For Us!

I am an urban homesteader in Colorado Springs, CO where I raise chickens, make my own yogurt and am learning to grow some food, all within sight of downtown in a 1950s era neighborhood. I am starting a small business designed to fill the gap between local farms and local dinner tables.
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3 Comments

  1. Dear Bonnie,
    Thank you for sharing, beautifully written, moving and poetic.I love hearing that your working with food and organic farmers, I think one of the most important things one can do at this point in time. My friend is an organic farmer and I belong to her CSA. Every-time I clean, chop and prepare these fresh foods I feel deeply connected and appreciative of mother earth. Another friend has a similar business to what you described check out vegetablehusband.com

  2. This was so moving. Thank you. We can come back to reality after loss but we are not the same. Maybe that’s good. Maybe that’s bad.

  3. Bonnie – I love your writing and the posts that you’ve created for atsGf; somehow this one touched my heart even more and might just be my favorite.

    Perhaps it’s because it’s my birthday & one tends to get a little retrospective. Perhaps it’s because of the reminder that even in the darkest times we continue and good comes when we just live. Perhaps it’s because, I too believe, that family, friends and especially our Gfs help us through moments and then are there to celebrate w/ us!

    I am excited and proud of the digital community we are creating where, as Jane Genova said to me, we are creating a safe place where we trust so that we may learn together.

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