" Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies." From "The Shawshank Redemption" based on a Stephen King novella, but maybe belonged more in one of his suspenseful, horror novels. My wife and I watched it numerous times, how could you not love it? The good guys won at the end, the bad guys paid fully for their crimes And the quote has rattled through my head since she died, but I didn't have the words then to put it into the proper context. My wife had injured knees, and the cartilage of her knees broke down, and in 1997, an x-ray showed a total loss of cartilage in the left knee, the right knee 90% destroyed. Because of her age (37) she was considered too young for knee transplants, even just one knee, to help her mobility. At that time. transplants were considered to have a lifetime of 10-15 years - she would likely need a second one then. So for some 13 years, she lived, knowing her only option was a wheel chair. She smiled through gritted teeth, created a lovely home for us, and never let the pain cause her to be unpleasant even in the later years. At holidays, I would bring dishes and pans to her, so that she could sample and season. We gave thanks to God, even for each day when arthritis and bone spurs let her only hobble, or put her weight one hip, swing the other hip forward, put the weight of that hip forward. And then repeat it, even as her knees took the pressure. And times when she was housebound for months, knowing that she couldn't risk a fall on ice or snow. Somehow, she was referred to a doctor just over the state line, a respected orthopedist in a teaching hospital, but now he told her that her thighs were too large. She refused to let that defeat her, her only complaint was that she wanted to be as good a wife as she could be for me. So she took up low impact aerobics, she swam, she did all she could to tighten the girth of her thighs. She let her hope carry her. And after a couple of years, she had not only made progress, but the science of orthopedics had advanced, replaced knee joints were stronger and lasted longer, and there was another physician, this one was the doctor of choice when a pro footballer, or college played tore up his knee joints. Again, he was across a state line, and she called relentlessly, to get the approvals and authorizations, but she got the appointment. That was in February 2010, I can't forget that because her spirit may not have been buoyant, but at least upbeat, even hopeful. . The doctor bent and twisted her knees, pulled on them, consulted the x-rays, left the room. When he returned, and sat, he looked at her, at us, and said "I can do the surgery.'' Then a pause "But I won't." She had risk factors, and he was unwilling to take a chance. The ride home was quiet, I think she knew she was only counting days until a wheel chair, we had already tried walkers. It was the end of the next month that she didn't wake up. The joyous spirit, the faithful spirit, the spirit that carried me, had taken her last breath that night. I don't know what anything had to do with anything else. I do know that she had been hopeful. And now, 2 1/2 years later, a call from her sister. their brother is in poor health, and the doctors want to amputate his leg. They've tried different treatments, and now it seems the most convenient action is to amputate his leg. I saw him 6 months ago. His thigh is larger that my wife's was. He has even more health issues, but actually removing HIS leg is an option. There are relatives, and friends, who question my distrust of the medical profession. Those who see my mental health as still being undiagnosed after 2 1/2 years. That my pharmalogical treatment is that of a shotgun approach, throw enough chemicals at it, and maybe one will work. And none of them seem to understand that I don't expect a magic potion, or transplant. But after however many years of college and med school, I DO expect some insight, maybe from someone who can actually read me. If talk therapy was the answer, I can get that at Starbucks. If a goal is given of "Radical acceptance" and 'letting go" of my wife's death, is it too much to expect (after 2 years) that they have enough training to help me? I'm not even asking anyone to do it for me, just give me the tools. Or don't even give me the tools, show me where to find them. " Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."