Saturday, August 1, 2009
This journey is filled with opportunities and pitfalls and I have a soul mate who travels with me and tries to navigate as best as he can but with more bad news coming, his anger bubbles to the surface and he becomes difficult without meaning to be. He is angry at what he feels is an injustice and is short with us. I manage to pull out of him slowly what is wrong but I end up pointing out all the chores that are left undone and mentioning that I have to get help from a neighbor after asking him half a dozen times. His reaction is swift and nasty and we bicker. We don't talk about the cancer and how it has inconvenienced our comfortable life and how we have hit a point in our life where we are in step with each other and are just beginning to enjoy the fruits of our labour. We have a nice house in a great neighborhood and enjoy good friendships and social outings. Our children are at varying ages of independence but are beyond the needy stages of those tot years. He is angry because I am a good person and I am his soul mate and this should not be happening and I am angry because I can not help him much beyond listening to him and being there. I try my best and I know he is trying his.... we are in the process of getting ready for bed but instead of crawling in next to him... I go downstairs to sleep on the couch - I want to be alone as I cry myself to sleep.
It is what it is and it is happening to me, to us... this illness affects everyone we come in contact with. Our children take our lead and we continue to parent as we always have, even when our oldest senses a chink in our resolve and tries to take advantage of those moments. We are on him and as a team, we stand our ground and he backs down. Oh, yes... they are still teens no matter what is going on around them but I have not left my post, life goes on as normally as possible. I took my middle child shopping yesterday and I really needed to find support for my 'girls' and some shirts to wear. I apologize in advance to him because I do not want to try on the sports bra knowing the effort would antagonize the swollen breast, I merely put the band around me to see if it would fit while we are standing between the racks. He understands and is supportive of my efforts. Thanks Mitch, I really appreciate you being there in the middle of the bra section with your Mom - now that takes guts!! Lydia is finishing up with day camp and she has made cards last night with Sue and myself to give to all her councillors. She is thoughtful and kind and always mindful that I am going through this journey with her too!! She is gentle when she cuddles in to me and traces the top of my breast where the incisions are and asks me if they hurt. Lydia would like me to play with her but most of the games are physical and require jumping and hanging upside down - we settle with books and walks... thank goodness for the new sports bra. Max and I take Lydia for a walk. We clasp hands while she rides on her big wheel. He is still brewing inside and I call him on it a few times and try to let him know that it will all work out the way its supposed to. I realize that he needs to talk to someone and not about golfing or digging a pond - he needs his friends around him. I am so fortunate that I have mine coming around and sitting with me. Men going through this are terribly lonely and powerless. He cannot do anything but be an emotional rock but I can see that his exterior is crumbling fast. He needs his friends and he needs them now!!
Max is out there making good on all his promises to clean up the yard, and to continue to work on the pond alone... this morning we are not talking.... We are both on this journey but feel very alone sometimes and although we are apart and doing our respective chores, we are still very much on each other's minds .. our souls are connected but for now we both choose to carry on with our tasks independently of each other and alone .... yesterday was one of those really rough days, which on the upside, makes the good ones really shine.
Lunchtime arrives and I ask Max to read what I have written so far... he is quiet and I can hear him from the living room where I am out of view. He comes into the living room and the tears begin to flow as his sobs get louder. 'I'm so sorry'.... it is a rare moment and I hold my wonderful husband close. It's OK to not always have to take on the world with a brave face... we are in this together and I love him dearly.
We have been invited out to a BBQ with close friends of ours whose family has become so a part of my own. We emigrated here in the mid 60's and with no extended family and my immediate family scattered about, they are as close as it gets to being family without being genetically linked. Tina brings her new baby Gabby who I get to hold... she is so tiny and within my weight restrictions. Her little arm reaches out of the blanket I have swaddled her in and the world is right again. More little kisses on her tiny head and she makes the circuit with all the ladies. As we go to leave, more hugs and well wishes from everyone. Thank you Sarah for a wonderful time and Len, you really do make the best hamburgers around. Thanks 'Mom' for being there and for always having an incredible attitude and insight.
We drop off our children at home, put Lydia to bed and head off to JJ's for a few hours to wish Emily all the very best in her new life chapter. I get to see people I have not seen in what seems like a lifetime. It is so good to be there and mingling with people I miss seeing every day at work. Nancy dropped by in the afternoon to spend time with me at home and I am thrilled that she made it out to the gathering this evening. Kelli, Janice, Joelly, Sandra, Kim, Ken, Annarita and Deborah!!! I am tired and ready for bed. We wave bye and head off for home hand in hand..... started rough and ended well. Thank you everyone.
Thanks Mandi for the hugs, lunch and great conversation on Friday - you are a good friend who needs no excuse to come by. Jilly, you are my soul friend and a source of hugs no matter how far away you are :) I love you so much. Thank you to my husband for bearing the world on his shoulders - I am here for you too and I love you more today than I did yesterday and will love you always and forever.... just remember.... it is only a part of our journey and it will only serve to make us stronger.