Let’s Just Stay Here

On our last trip to Florida in the Spring of 1998…I share these memories with you. All of the what ifs we think about…are normal and real to us all.


Sitting on a windy beach John and I leaned against each other, and I suggested, “Why don’t we just stay here and wait to see what will happen?” Words that appeared normal were really posing a question about the rest of my husband’s life. In actuality, he had five months left to live. We had chosen not to proceed with further treatment for his cancer.

beachNow almost twenty years later, I muse as to what would have happened if we had stayed on that beach. Maybe instead of a house, we would have lived in a pitched tent, eaten fresh fish caught in the ocean for our dinner and fallen asleep under the stars wishing on them each night. Perhaps, we would have made new clothes from palm fronds, filtered seawater through green leaves, and taken long naps on soft, warm sand. Perhaps…

But of course, we did none of those things. Instead, we visited friends for the last time, attended church with our beloved pastor in Naples, Florida, and boarded the plane back to Chicago’s snow covered terraces. We had to go home and we did. Home was what he longed for and I accepted that even though the glow of the warm, tropic winds still tingled my ears.

I still think…what if?

About the Author

Maryann Hartzell-Curran, a retired educator and counselor, has written a personal account of her journey through the first year of grieving the loss of her husband in her book, “From We to Me,” to help support those who have suffered the loss of a loved one.
Maryann founded a successful family therapy practice and taught in the public and private sectors. She also founded and directed a church-based preschool in Lombard, Ill., and gained experience working with the elderly as director of a senior dining center. She has a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s degree in counseling from Illinois Benedictine University.

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