I had one of those conversations with a stranger. You know, the one that starts with "so how long have you been divorced?" This one ended up lasting a bit longer than usual, despite my lob of the usually effective conversation stopper: "I'm not divorced, I'm a widow, my husband died 5 years ago." Instead, this person wanted the details - she was giving me a spa treatment, so we had some time to fill. We had a chat about cancer, the length of his illness and she even wanted to know about the end (thrill seeker, I suppose).
I gave her a brief timeline of how it happened over the 20ish months of his illness - 1st diagnosis - radiation, 1st re-occurrence - surgery, 2nd re-occurrence - chemo, and then a sudden and very unexpected death after a week of chemo. I could tell from the comments she made and the questions she asked that she thought he'd heard his final diagnosis and given up. He died suddenly in her mind because the news scared him to death - he gave up. There was a sympathy and implied judgment in her nodding head.
I wanted to rip her nodding head off. Okay, that's a slight exaggeration, but I really did feel tempted to call her on the judgment she'd made and defend his honor. Who the hell did she think she was? She didn't know him. I resisted the temptation, what did it matter really? She'd already made up her mind. He quit. It was too hard.
I walked away from the exchange completely annoyed. Why did I care what a stranger thought of Daniel 5 years after he was gone? I have no clue. But I do know that he was no quitter. It did get hard, and it continued to get harder and harder. He fought until the horrible awful end. I've never been prouder of a person's strength in the face of adversity.
So there. Up yours spa lady.