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Bucket List

Written by Anonymous.

Blue water with green mountains surrounding the beach

My husband made a bucket list after he was diagnosed. He learned that his diagnosis was fatal, and he had a mere few months left to live. He wasn't in a lot of pain even though he apparently had cancer-- in fact, his lack of pain is why he waited so long to go to the doctor.

Initially, we were shocked that he was ill. Looking back, he was definitely showing some symptoms, but we always attributed them to something else. Back pain? He must've pulled a muscle. Nausea? He probably didn't drink enough water that day, and his diet wasn't all-too-healthy.

After his diagnosis, he was still pretty active. He would always assure me that we would get through this together. He knew he wasn't dying, because he felt pretty alright. Still, he decided to try out new hobbies that he had always wanted to try in the past. He felt like his diagnosis had given him a second chance at life, in a way, because he realized that he wasn't living his life to the fullest.

He wasn't rushing to do everything all at once, because he thought that he still had many years left to live. He was sure that his cancer treatment would work, but in case it didn't, he wanted to die knowing that he lived an adventurous life.

Once we found out that the disease progressed, his attitude changed. There was a new sense of urgency, and his confidence diminished. Instead of passively trying new things, he made an effort to create a bucket list and started organizing the next few months of his life.

Every day, he wanted to try something new. On days when he wasn't receiving treatment, he would wake up at the break of dawn, take his new motorcycle out for a spin, spend the morning fishing, try out a new restaurant...all before noon. His bucket list had all sorts of typical and atypical things, like riding a gondola through Venice, skydiving and running a marathon, but he was only able to make it about 1/3 through. During his last few months with me he started to slow down and he realized he wouldn't be able to finish his list. On his death bed he asked me to finish the list for him.

Every month, I try to do one thing on the list. I can't always travel but there are some things, like going to eat at the local Indian restaurant or learning how to paint, that I can take on. His bucket list has become my bucket list and it lets him continue to live on.

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