Update

Since the passing of The Boyfriend’s family member of cancer, I have been at a loss for something to write. Normally, I will come across something on social media, like a ridiculous and offensive campaign all in the name of “awareness,” or an ignorant comment from someone high-profile, and I’ll furiously write a blog. My righteous indignation serving as a guide to my angry typing.

After watching someone die from cancer and seeing the grief and pain the whole process inflicted on his family, I am just tired. I am at a loss. Cancer made its way into my life once again, and as it does, the disease just took, stole and destroyed.

I listened to the nonsensical words from a man, who had been praised for his sharp mind. I saw the last laboured breaths of a frail man, who had slipped into unconsciousness for the last five days of his life. I tried to be as quiet and unobtrusive as possible among his family members, feeling like an interloper among grievers. I didn’t know him prior to his illness.

This period of when he was actively dying, and my life went on hold, ready to change at a phone call’s notice, really got inside my head. Instead of being the one in the hospital bed, I was the hospital visitor who unfortunately understood the cancer lingo. I watched the man I love grieve for someone he loved. I learned, as we all do, how helpless we are in the face of death.

I flash-backed to my own treatment at the sight of the tubes and the beeping machines. During this period before and after he died, I felt unfamiliar pains in my back and hip. At times, I thought in a panic, “Do I now have metastatic cancer?” My worst nightmare was the main topic of conversation for a solid month.

The boyfriend needed me, so I dedicated myself to being the loving partner for him, all the while keeping inside my fears and worries. He shouldn’t, nor did he, have to console me while someone in his family was actively dying of cancer. This man was there for me during my cancer treatment, and I would be there for him to hell and back.

I have cried. I have felt anger, like deep within my belly anger. When someone is dying of cancer (not just living with metastatic cancer, but actively dying from the disease), the constant helplessness is exhausting.

I have listened. I have given countless hugs. I have reserved judgment over how someone may choose to cope with stress. I have come to accept my cancer-related fears as a constant in my life, and that new normal I have heard so much about.

Since the Boyfriend’s family member’s death was several weeks ago, now it’s the moving on portion of this process. Occasional moments of sadness flares up, but we’ll talk those out. The Boyfriend and I just scheduled our first vacation in two years. We’ll be leaving next month for a week long vacation of fun, work-free, stress-free living.

Time to re-gather the strength and passion I feel for cancer, and move on and forward. It’s not like cancer is taking a break.

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One thought on “Update

  1. your Boyfriend and his family are so fortunate to have you. I missed the previous post. suffice it to say you have a loving, caring essence within you that has helped you and all whom you care so deeply for with your fine-honed sensitivity and compassion. your observations, thoughts, and ensuing selflessness were and are such a generous gift. and I must tell you, I was a hospice nurse for 30 years, and it was such a privilege to be present and to help the dying persons and their families at the most difficult and emotional time of their lives. sometimes the dynamics at the bedside were fraught with dysfunction, some brought on by utter terror, some that manifested magnification of past histories. but when their were loved ones who filled the room with such love, such patience, such a sense that something very sacred was unfolding, it was truly palpable. I am so glad that you got to experience hearing the oh, so true observations of dying people being comforted by others who had gone before them, and that it has reinforced the hope that your dear Mom will indeed be present for you, her darling Daughter. I, too, eschew organized religion (raised catholic), but treasure a deep spirituality that developed with my hospice work and has seen me through a great deal of recent pain and loss.

    I am so happy for you and your Boyfriend to have been able to have a vacation – and to look forward to the next one! keep taking good care of yourselves…

    much love,

    Karen

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