‘Brothers in grief’

LOS GATOS, Calif. — He was my best man when I got married more than 51 years ago and he is my best man at this very moment.

We met for lunch to talk about the old days and to share the pain we both feel at losing our brides … to cancer. Tim’s wife passed away about three years ago, four months after receiving her cancer diagnosis. My bride, Kathy Anne, passed away this past February, about six weeks after learning she had a tumor in her brain.

We talked to each other about our shared experiences and Tim, being the wise and erudite individual he is, shared with me some wisdom about I will carry with me farther along as I continue to cope with my own recovery.

It was this, boiled down to an essential message: Do not ever forget the life we had over the decades, but do not be fearful of finding a new life moving forward. He told me it will take a long before I cease crying at the thought of losing the love of my life; he says it still grips him hard. Tim and his wife were together for 42 years before they received the chilling news of her illness.

I get it. I intend to take it with me as I move on down the proverbial road of life. I am still sorting through where I want my life to lead me at this juncture. I told my friend that I feel “like the loneliest man on Earth.” He nodded in agreement and understanding. I also reminded him that I am buoyed by the knowledge that others, such as my best man, have gone through it, too.

They came out of it and, by God, so will I.

I needed to talk to my best man because you only have one of these individuals in your life and my “brother in grief” stepped up and delivered the wisdom I needed to hear.