Unsteady

Since May, Rick wasn’t himself. The radiation caused pneumonitis in the same lung as the tumors it had killed. We enjoyed our wonderful Florida vacation beginning the second week of April, but the final week, he began experiencing pain in his lung.

It became more difficult for him to walk up the slight slope of the sandy beach each evening after we drank wine and watched the sunset. He became more winded more easily. He finally said he was looking forward to getting back home and to his own bed.

Once home, he was happy to find that his fears that the cancer had returned were unfounded, but the pneumonitis could not be beaten. The pain lessened with medication, but he became steadily weaker, and then the complications began. The steroids were reduced too quickly. The blood clots formed in his lungs. He lost 60 pounds from lack of energy and lack of appetite.

He didn’t laugh as hard at jokes as he once had. His conversations lacked enthusiasm. He still followed politics, but rarely voiced any of his strong opinions.

He endured several hospital visits, each one confirming that the lung tumors had not returned, there were no tumors in his brain, but, no, they couldn’t pinpoint exactly why he continued to become weaker….and more unsteady.

Every time I heard this song on the radio, I felt such love and pain and pity for him. He was my 6’5″ 300 pound, muscular husband. He was the furniture mover, my rock, my strong shoulder to cry on. He was “the big fellow.”

I watched him try to come to terms with his new weaker state. He couldn’t stand sitting around, not building or working on landscaping, or putzing around the house, or – worst of all – not riding his bicycle for miles and miles each day. He was unsteady on his feet. He used me to hold him up wherever we went. And when I heard this song, I sobbed and sobbed for what he had lost and what he continued to endure – all without complaint.

Every time I heard this song, it reminded me to grab him and hold him. And I did.

I loved him and I didn’t let go. I don’t think I ever will.

Unsteady – by the Ambassadors

Hear the song

Hold
Hold on
Hold on to me
‘Cause I’m a little unsteady
A little unsteady

Hold
Hold on
Hold on to me
‘Cause I’m a little unsteady
A little unsteady

Mama, come here
Approach, appear
Daddy, I’m alone
‘Cause this house don’t feel like home

If you love me, don’t let go
If you love me, don’t let go

Hold
Hold on
Hold on to me
‘Cause I’m a little unsteady
A little unsteady

Hold
Hold on
Hold on to me
‘Cause I’m a little unsteady
A little unsteady

Mother, I know
That you’re tired of being alone
Dad, I know you’re trying
To fight when you feel like flying

If you love me, don’t let go
If you love me, don’t let go

Hold
Hold on
Hold on to me
‘Cause I’m a little unsteady
A little unsteady

Hold
Hold on
Hold on to me
‘Cause I’m a little unsteady
A little unsteady

Hold
Hold on
Hold on to me
‘Cause I’m a little unsteady
A little unsteady

About the author

Katherine Billings Palmer is a technical writer, poet, and essayist from Garden City, Michigan. She’s won several academic writing awards, including first place in the University of Michigan Dearborn Critical Essay Contest for her work about poet John Donne: “‘The Sun Rising’: A Lover’s Boast.”

In 2017, Katherine’s husband, Rick, died of complications from small cell lung cancer. She wrote a series of poems and essays about her struggles to cope with her grief. I Wanted to Grow Old With You is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

Her latest book, A Widow’s Words: Grief, Reflection, Prose, and Poetry – The First Year was published in January 2019 and is also available on Amazon.com.

Katherine is a guest blogger for the Hope for Widows Foundation and writes about her grief journey at www.TheWritingWidow.com.

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