How Would You Handle a Death Sentence?

If you’re like my husband, you’d spend your last year preparing everyone you love for life without you

Kimberlee Murray
Human Parts
Published in
9 min readAug 5, 2019


Photo by Kim Murray

WWhat would you do if you went into the emergency room with flu-like symptoms, but a CAT scan revealed a massive brain tumor and the doctor handed you a death sentence? You’d probably stammer, “I don’t understand” as he explained the glioblastoma multiforme tumor will kill you because no cure exists.

“You only have 12 to 15 months to live. Please treat every day going forward as a gift.” If a terminal diagnosis reduced your future to months, not years, what would you do?

You might make a list

If you’re like my husband, you’d go home and make a list. You’d show your wife how to take care of things. Like how to snake the shower drain. You would explain that you remove her hair nests, the size of small rats, from the drain every few months.

“That’s so disgusting,” she’d say. “Why didn’t you ever make me clean out my own hair from the drain?”

And you’d say: “Because you just handle the disgusting stuff when you love someone as much as I love you.”

You’d show your wife where you keep the lightbulbs and explain the difference between the indoor and outdoor bulbs. Especially important to you would be your wife’s promise to change the outdoor lights by the garage to red and green bulbs every Christmas.

After showing her how to start the snowblower, remove moss from between the patio bricks, and add nectar to the hummingbird feeder, you’d say, “I’m so sorry you have to deal with all of this.”

You’d be dying, but feel bad that your wife has to remember to feed the hummingbirds.

You might hand over your business

If you’re like my husband, you would take your wife with you on sales calls and tell your customers she’ll run your business. The business she knows nothing about, other than that you sell chemicals to the metal processing industry.

Your wife would sit next to you in each of the conference rooms with a blank stare and a fake smile. As you boast about her business acumen, she’d dig…



Kimberlee Murray
Human Parts

A widow on a quest to make widowhood suck a little less. Offering practical tips and resources for widows managing grief and loss at