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My husband died six months ago from stomach cancer at the age of 45. We found out he was sick two months after we were married. He died 19 months later. The bravest man I’ve ever met. This is a list of things I wish I had the courage to say to people now as they tiptoe through life around me (or don’t).

It’s OK

It’s not OK

You can say Happy Birthday, or Happy New Year. I do have moments I’m happy and it’s nice for people to remind me to feel that way.

When I answered ‘fine’ the first time you asked me, you don’t have to tilt your head and ask again, “But how are you really?”

How have you not sent me a text since the day he died? How busy are you?

Talk about him all the time. It won’t remind me he’s gone. It will remind me you knew him and had fun times with him that you want me to remember too. It might upset me, but so what?!?!?! At this point, sometimes seeing a squirrel upsets me!

Why didn’t you get to know him better? You’d understand how broken I am if you had.

I’m not OK

I’m OK

Don’t ask me about his dying process. That’s not a memory I need to relive. I try to forget that daily.

It’s okay that you’re sad about something you deem silly or not important. I’m your friend and want to help you get through life. Talk to me about it. It’s not a competition on who can be sadder. I’m not the only person who gets to be sad.

This is nothing like when your (fill-in-the-blank) passed away. It’s not like when my dad passed away. Every relationship is different, the way you miss everyone is different. The way you handle things is different.

If I had known he was sick on December 7th I still would have married him on the 8th. It was an amazing feeling, being his wife.

Yes I still watch ‘soccer’ and yes I actually enjoy it. What else is on at 7:30 Saturday morning?

Invite yourself to my house whenever you want, or come take me out. Even when I don’t think I feel like it, company makes me feel better.

Do you have a tissue?

Be nice. Be inclusive. Be friendly. Be better.

Becky Bennett

Becky Bennett is always looking for the next binge-worthy show to watch on her 2-hour daily commute. Getting by with a little help from her friends (and family). Keep right on!

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