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October 2017 marked the one-year anniversary of a new life I didn’t choose. My beloved husband, Bob, died in the fall of 2016 after taking a hard fall off his bicycle and spending 10 days in the ICU. I made the painful decision to follow his wishes and remove him from life support.
Before his accident, Bob and I hiked, biked, danced and relished days spent with our two young grandchildren. I loved my work, which involved speaking about and promoting prevention and wellness. I always emphasized that following the vision of building a Culture of Health in the U.S. — to make it possible for everyone to have the opportunity to live their healthiest lives — nurses needed to teach others to eat well, exercise regularly and address the systemic inequities that prevent people from living healthy lives.
But after the accident, life changed for me. I could not erase the image of Bob surrounded by tubes and machines and the feeling of being so out of control.