I was on the road for work, flying down the interstate with the cruise control set. I needed to make a call that couldn’t wait until I got home later that night. So I dialed my husband and when he answered, I asked what I had been thinking about since leaving home that morning.
“Did the doctor call?”
For a heartbeat he did not answer me, and in that pause I knew.
“It’s cancer,” he said softly, like he was telling a child something she wouldn’t understand.
“What?” I said, in a voice I didn’t recognize. “What?”
“It’s cancer,” my husband repeated. “The tests came back positive … I have cancer.”
Now it was my turn not to answer back. I just couldn’t find the right words to say to my husband of 37 years. Together we have raised three kids, and only recently the last one graduated from college. In our empty nest, we have been making big plans ‑ things to see, places to go … a road map for the rest of our lives.
Cancer wasn’t in the plan at all.
There on the highway I simply told my husband that we would figure it out. Until I had my arms around him, I couldn’t say any more.
After hanging up, I pulled over to the side of the interstate and cried, holding my face in my hands. Cars and trucks flew past on their way to somewhere while I sat there oblivious to them all.
Finally, I checked my rearview mirror to remind myself where I had been. Then I carefully pulled out onto the interstate, leaving those tears behind.
Focused on the road ahead.