The Atlantic

My Wife Was Dying, and We Didn’t Tell Our Children

The choice was unusual, but loving: We wanted them to live without the shadow of their mother’s mortality hanging over them.
Source: Erin McCluskey

We decided not to tell the kids. Marla knew that once our three daughters understood that their mother had been given 1,000 days to live, they’d start counting. They would not be able to enjoy school, friends, their teams, or birthday parties. They’d be watching too closely—how she looked, moved, acted, ate, or didn’t. Marla wanted her daughters to stay children: unburdened, confident that tomorrow would look like yesterday. Marla was my first and only girlfriend. We were introduced in October 1987, when we joined a coed intramural flag-football team in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I wasn’t very good with women, monosyllabic in their presence. We all went to a bar after one game, and I came home with a napkin on which I’d jotted down words to describe Marla: “Hot. Fast. Fun. Sweet. Flint.” Yes, as in Flint, Michigan—her hometown—but also as in flinty—steely, speedy, mighty, glinting. Marla could water-ski barefoot. I was a rabbi’s kid; I rarely even went on boats. She made a habit of taking me places. In 2009, Marla’s radiologist called to tell her that she had early-stage breast cancer. She was also BRCA-positive, meaning that she carried the inherited gene for the disease—a troublesome marker. After a double mastectomy and ovary removal, she needed eight rounds of chemotherapy to clear the cancer found in her lymph nodes.

Vous lisez un aperçu, inscrivez-vous pour en lire plus.

Plus de The Atlantic

The Atlantic5 min de lecturePsychology
Stop Keeping Score
“How to Build a Life” is a column by Arthur Brooks, tackling questions of meaning and happiness. Starting today, the column will be published weekly on Thursday mornings. I am an inveterate scorekeeper. I can go back decades and find lists of goals I
The Atlantic7 min de lectureWorld
Joe Biden Has a Europe Problem
The new president has a daunting list of foreign-policy challenges. Among the biggest will be managing a longtime ally.
The Atlantic4 min de lectureCrime & Violence
America’s Shadow Death Row
The government does not exclusively kill people who are on death row. It condemns many to die by drone strike.