This is the story of how I found Stephen–the love of my life–lost him too early to cancer, and then discovered a way to reconnect with his spirit. My experience has proved to me that the worst thing that ever happened in my life was also the most important. That death, while not easy, can be beautiful. And that love is, indeed, eternal.
In 2004 I was living a dream. I had been married to Stephen for 14 years and life was great. But when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer, I suddenly found myself on an unexpected and unwelcome journey with no road map.
At first I did my best to keep him alive, to preserve our life together, to give us more time to love each other. When it became horribly clear that he was not going to make it, I had to change my focus from his survival to easing his pain and helping him through the dying process as authentically as he had lived.
A Beautiful Death is our story of love and loss, of learning and letting go, of my doing absolutely all I was capable of for the one I loved. And of believing that, while nothing could save him, everything I did could contribute to a better end.
I wrote this book to explain to myself what happened so I could bear to go on with my life alone. And I wrote it for you as proof that not only can you handle whatever challenges life sends you, but you can also become more present to life’s joys in the process.
Dying is something we will all do in this life, and it is likely to be difficult; but what matters is who we are being while we’re doing it. That’s what Stephen taught me, and that’s the story I fashioned from the journals I had kept during our 18 years together.
Throughout Stephen’s illness and eventual passing in 2008, I found that reading how other people faced death gave me courage and confidence that I could walk up to that final doorway with my beloved. I hope that reading A Beautiful Death does the same for you.