A Guest Post: Jealousy

I’ve rather jealously guarded my platform on this blog and have eschewed opportunities to share a guest post for a while. But when a dear friend and I were talking about jealousy the other day, I knew I had to make an adjustment. She just articulated the issue so very well and we had such a kismet meeting of the minds that I knew instantly how important it would be to share her words. I’ve dealt with the same or similar emotions at various points throughout the time I’ve been living with Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) and I’m pretty sure others have as well.

Without further ado, here’s Silke’s words about Jealousy:

It’s been a great day of skiing. A little careful, because I don’t want to bust the expanders, but I’m happy that we delayed the reconstruction until after the end of ski season. I’m under the shower, warming up. My thoughts wander to my mortality. I have cancer. It’s still hard to grasp. What will happen after I die? My man will be miserable alone, but he should be able to find somebody else. I want him to be happy. He can take her up here, go skiing with her. Then she’ll sleep in my bed. She’ll take a shower in my shower. The shower that we built together. In the house we built together. And with that I unravel into a crying mess on the floor of the shower. 

Fast forward a good 6 years. I received my metastatic diagnosis last year. Like six years ago he stood by me. Tried to get me out of my anxiety attacks. Told me that we won’t let that destroy what’s left of our lives together. Planned all these trips. None of that happened because of Covid-19, of course, but that’s an entirely different story. This story is about jealousy. 

A few years back I read “When Breath Becomes Air”. What astonished me the most was that he wanted his wife to remarry. Not just “yeah I want her to be happy”, but a wholehearted endorsement of her future happy life with a new partner. It made me think a lot about partnerships and expectations and what happens when one leaves so much earlier than the other. Both my grandmothers died long before I was born, and both my grandfathers moved on. One of them because he had lost a leg during the war, and needed somebody to care for him, so he married his wife’s cousin. 

In the middle of this metastatic mess, I talked about being suicidal with my man. When I told him that it’ll likely get really bad, he said that he didn’t marry me just for the good times, but that it was for good and bad times, and that he’d be there for me. And I think that was when the last bit of jealousy of any potential new loves left me. 

I’m still jealous. I’m jealous of those who don’t have to swallow handfuls of pills every day. I’m jealous of those who will be able to live out their lives. I’m jealous of those who will never learn the meaning of scanxiety. I’m jealous of those who will just keel over and die, and not go through the long agony of living while dying, with ever-worsening side effects. But I’m not jealous of his future partners anymore. I want him to have the life that we wanted to have together, to get old with somebody who loves him, even when he’s unshaven and has a hangover because the wine just tasted too good the night before. I want him to be happy, because he is doing his best to make me happy right now. Please let me overcome the jealousy of others as well. It’ll be hard, and I hope I can do it. Because it’s not their fault.

Thank you, Silke, for your honesty and vulnerability and courage in sharing these personal ruminations. I’ll pass along your comments to her, so please let Silke know how much you appreciated her post.

21 thoughts on “A Guest Post: Jealousy

  1. I too admire the painful honesty of Silke’s words, and I’m glad she’s reached that sense of peace about her man.
    In the larger sense, I think jealousy, guilt, and other human foibles should be viewed as understandable—and then simply not dwelt upon. They rob us of valuable time and energy, which is especially unfortunate when facing a terminal illness. Jealous? So be it! What’s next on my to-do list? I’m not saying this approach is easy, but I like the phrase “thoughts are a feather: you can open your hand and they’ll fly away.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for your words! When i was diagnosed MBC I was so angry at everything and jealous of my two year old granddaughter’s other grandmother. I don’t particularly like this woman and it burned me that my granddaughter could possibly never get to know me. It’s a year later and Granddaughter and I love each other; jealousy is gone. Your thoughts took me back to an article a couple years ago about a journalist who wrote something to her husband’s future wife. Made me cry because it was so generous in spirit. Wish I could be that way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hear you! I was really mean to my husband when I was diagnosed and rewrote my estate planning documents to protect my kids against a fictional potential stepmother. I was a little nuts about that for a while. I’ve been able to calm down a little but jeez, I was so mad. ❤️

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  3. Yup, that one was a tear jerker for sure. Thanks for sharing. From someone who has moved on, I still wear, and always have and always will, a band on my right hand, because like they say in that one movie, you can love someone else, but your marriage didn’t end because you stopped loving each other. There’s a difference. When you love someone, it’s not for the rest of YOUR life… it’s for the rest of theirs. They won’t stop loving you. Trust me. I’m going on 20 years, and not a day goes by I don’t think of him. Even through a second marriage and divorce. You are a part of each other and what you have gone through together can’t be taken away by anyone, and while they may find someone and be happy, a piece of them will ALWAYS be gone, because you’ll take it with you. And a piece of you will never be gone, bc trust me when I say that my Joshua is still here with me. I just discussed this with both my girls for the millionth time this week. YOU WILL NEVER BE GONE. What’s that quote about the last time someone says your name, Abigail? I’ll be saying his name as long as I have breath, whether or not I marry again.

    Thank you again for sharing. 🙏🏽♥️

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I think that came out backwards. When you love someone, it’s for as long as you live, not as long as they live. That was weird to explain from this side of that fence. Meaning when the person is gone, you don’t stop loving them. It doesn’t work like that. You couldn’t even if you tried.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I think you are referring to the concept that there are three deaths: 1) when your physical body dies; 2) when you are buried or cremated or whatever, meaning your physical body is gone; and 3) when your name is no longer spoken. We keep our loved ones alive by speaking their names and remembering them. Thank you for commenting. I knew you’d understand fully. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Silke expressed herself so well and captured emotions that are both sometimes hard to articulate and hard to understand. It isn’t called the green-eyed monster for nothing. And yet, these feelings of jealousy connected to cancer are all so very human and not monstrous at all. We’re human. I often feel it when I see someone do the tiniest thing that I currently can’t manage. It goes away until it comes back for something else.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Feeling this. My counsellor at the hospice always says its perfectly natural to feel our feels. If my cancer has given me one thing it’s awareness of my feelings, needs and wants before I die. Thank you for sharing. 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow! For this to be one of the second things I have read, I am blown away. So beautiful, so sad, I feel so selfish for complaining about Anxiety and things while she deals with this. I am just astounded at her courage, her honesty and just in everything she wrote. Thank you for sharing and thank her for allowing you too. It was just a punch to realize all of the things she and you are going through. Hugs to you both and prayers.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is so moving, and so painful. Truly heartbreaking. I think any woman who is happily married would resonate with the sentiments expressed here. My heart goes out to Silke – and to all women walking in her shoes. Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability.

    Liked by 1 person

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