Well, its been a week… and despite my initial fear of it being intolerable waiting, like everything else one endures on this journey called life, it just normalized. I managed to keep my boys as distracted and amused as I could. Homework was still done, errands were still run, meals were made, conversations held. It seems anything can be become quite normal, and that humans are very resilient. But in the quiet of the morning, staring here at this page, tomorrow lurks like the last bastion of hope and the ultimate crushing blow of despair.
He has, by the initial diagnosis, a fast growing stage three large cell carcinoma, a relatively rare lung cancer. It tends to slough off cells, and can spread by the bloodstream. But he reacted relatively well to the chemo and radiation he got, and if it has shrunk and not spread, he agreed to round two of chemo. Tomorrow we find out the results.
We had a nice fire in the fireplace last night, ate leftover corned beef on pumpernickel bread, watched “House” reruns, and worked on Jake’s Christmas list. Normal, normal, normal. We went over our AFLAC bill, trying to decide what to shed and what to keep, since his boss isn’t paying the freight on that anymore… hmm… how much can we pay AFLAC out of the AFLAC money, when they still owe us 2 AFLAC checks from a month or more ago? Quack, quack. I’ve 4 ignored utility bills staring me down in my inbox every time I boot my email. Heh. I guess THAT part is normal.
I cannot imagine losing this man, this warrior this way. He pretty much raised me, I feel, because most of what I am, I became as a result of meeting him at 21. From the first instant I laid eyes on him, I knew. My instincts have always been amazingly prescient about “keepers and kindreds” in my life, but this was like a cosmic explosion of rightness. The road has not always been smooth, but all relations take work. Our psyches are intertwined in ways no one would ever understand.
Who would I be without my anchor? Would I become harder, more self-reliant as he taught me, when I was still a floundering “victim” type? Would I become softer, more forgiving of others, and revert to a more “doormat” (as he liked to call it) state? He tends to be a loner, and I the social one.
Which leads me to the place of the real questions… it needn’t be tragedy that is the impetus of change… what would I really like to change about myself, and why am I not working toward that now?
I have to think about things like this, I suppose, in some survival technique of not-thinking about things like what happens to HIM next. How much pain he will have to be in, if he will whither and die in agony, what hospice and everything else. Or will he be in remission for a while or forever? Will he choose to regain his strength if given the chance, and re-enter life, or continue to lose weight and muscle mass, by sleeping and laying around feeling depressed? I cannot imagine how frightened he is. I am sure, as an old hippy, he thought he would have some blaze of glory exit, in some future time, not have to go through this when he was feeling young and strong.
If nothing else, he has tried to teach me through the years not to worry so much, and deal when you have to – not a moment sooner. Sometimes to an excess, I will say. Not-dealing-soon-enough becomes an albatross when too-late-to-do-anything creeps up on not-right-now like a motherfucker. But my natural bent is to over-worry, over-analyze, and second guess my every choice, that’s cumbersome too.
It is interesting to me, that so many daily bullshit problems in our world have become the “Hey, at least its not cancer” file to be tossed out as irrelevant. Idiot drivers, bad tippers, spilt milk and jammed toes. Yeah, whatever, no big.
On the other hand? It also gives you a feeling of immediacy. One of my friends was dropped off here by her mother Thursday night, after a particularly bad round of domestic violence. Her Mom, who is a bit older than me, tried to comfort my 30-something friend about how “sorry” her boyfriend was, and how it would all blow over. I wanted to choke the Mom. I tried to talk to my friend after, tell her to get out now, while she was young and still could.
By the next day? She went back. She said SHE apologized, because she started it. I brought up the bruises all over her back, where he stomped on her while she was fetal in the corner of her shower stall… and she said, “Its not like he’s ever punched me in the face or anything.” I shit you not. There are things in life that should never become normal. She has lost so many friends because her man is a psycho, I hate to walk away… but how many times must I replay this scenario out with her, and be nice to the motherfucker who did this to her, because she asks me to? I will always extract her from a situation that is dangerous to her. But God Damn.
Mike is to the point with them where he doesn’t want me to answer the phone if its their number. Of course, I think he feels that way about a lot of my friends. I tend to attract the odd, the broken, drunks and losers, he says. He thinks my healing energy attracts them, but that most of them are just drainers and users. Me? I just find all kinds of people interesting, worthy. I’ve jettisoned quite a few through the years with him in my ear, and wonder now if that was a mistake or a blessing.
Mike wrote off Chris Schultz, his best friend of 30-ish years, because Chris didn’t call once, or come around when he heard in August, and blew off the Party for some really inane reason. Chris has tried to call a couple times this month, but Mike won’t answer or listen to the messages. I would have. Of course, I would take him back in a heartbeat, if he could give me any explanation of why he hurt my husband so. Mike is an absolutist that way, me a marshmallow. 4 months is just too long to let things go for him, I get that. You have to harden yourself against the calls that don’t come, the disappointment in being bailed on when you’re down. But man… an olive branch is an olive branch. I would take it. I don’t know. It isn’t up to me. I say nothing.
But again, I would have tried to tell Chris he was hurting me before it went that far… but I can be too subtle in asking at first, then tend to blow up after it gets just too hard to take. Chris is what he is, and we knew that when we adopted him. He just doesn’t do anything “ikky-emotional” well. Even Cindy-squaw was telling us that when she was here. We met her through him, they dated many years ago. He runs, he hides. But in this particular instance? Jesus, you don’t let people down when someone may well be dying. She’s pretty disappointed in him too.
But when I look around, I really am blessed with love from so many kind people, here and in the real world.
Some of them, I cannot for the life of me understand, though I try and try and wrap my head around their choices a thousand ways. Why does one go back to DV? Why does another cheat on her men? In the end, it doesn’t matter to me when I deal with them, because I just feel the love in the parts I love about them and disregard the parts I don’t get.
I guess all I ever really ask of people is to value me back. I suppose, I ask too much, because I want it in ways I can understand, and some people are just wired differently. I think I expect them to act as I would to them, I expect them to be me-ish, and I am the healer-giver woman. But without the Love? There is no there there.
(wow, if you’ve read this far, I apologize for the meandering stream of consciousness babble… I am all over the place here)
I think I will decorate for Christmas today, to keep my boy’s minds off worrying, create little ways for them to help me. Its funny, I have none of the Christmas-angst I usually get, being family-less, missing the old Wieczorek clan. I have my family right here. They are all I need.
That will be Jake’s normal I guess. No grandparents. Hopefully still a Dad. But surrounded with our love, and the love of friends, and inner peace I hope.
I’ll make them a fire and hot chocolate. I’ll belt out “Hark the Herald” just because I love to sing it.
Its gonna be another normal day, by God.
I’ve got this day covered. I’ll let tomorrow take care of itself tomorrow.