|5 × 8 in
It never occurred to me that I would outlive my wife Dotti. She was a seminal part of the air I breathed, the flowers I smelled, the fruit I tasted, the flesh I touched, the language I heard. And then one day after thirty-three years of marriage, the phone rang, and her obstetrician-gynecologist told her, "You have cancer." From the moment of that phone call until Dotti's passing took a year. It was a year of tumultuous, terrifying, heart-rending events and feelings. It was a year of clinics, hospitals, doctors, nurses, tests, diagnoses, radiation, and chemotherapy. There was a massive surgery, and then more surgery. It was a year of despair, hope, rage, sorrow, love, and faith. These texts serve as a being-there in language during the last months that Dotti, my life's partner, lived as a beloved human being. During this journey I was changed in ways that I would never have imagined. My words are part of an ongoing attempt at healing and hope.
GARY PACERNICK is professor of English at Wright State University. He has published ten books of poetry, criticism, interviews, editions, and drama. His poetry collection, The Jewish Poems, was adapted for the stage and public television by Robert Britton. He is listed in Who’s Who in America.