I haven’t blogged in a few weeks.
Frankly, I have been struggling with this part of our cancer journey. I want to be able to say something uplifting; lately that has been in short supply. But, for the sake of transparency here is a taste of our lives.
I wake up each morning. Usually the day begins with a sense of normalcy. We savor curling up against each other. We breathe the other in.
Sometimes Doug even takes his oxygen off for a bit so we don’t hear the whistling. Dozing into the morning feels so much a part of our many years together.
As we wake, the new reality sets in. I gently unwind Doug’s paralyzed arm that, moments before, I held close. Medications begin. The wheeled walker is pulled to the bed, a reminder of a fall from Doug’s weakening right leg.
Sometimes I hold still for a moment and wonder what it would be like if we didn’t remember the past. Maybe, with no knowing of what had been before, this moment would hold no suffering. Or maybe we would think that this moment provided healing from a past with more loss? But the past still tugs at me.
I remember running down a trail on Grandfather Mountain in 1982; letting our young strong bodies jump from rock to rock with abandon. It was the same day that Doug told Bob that we were a couple; he was the first to know. I flushed with embarrassment at the revelation.
Our lives are more frail now. Doug’s body is changing day to day. Organs and nerves are ever more vulnerable to the cancer pushing against them. With this comes the removal of armoring. While tears of joy and gratitude have always been readily available for Doug; now, so is the grief and loss from losing more function every day.
I, too, feel more vulnerable. I lose my phone more, or forget the laundry. This morning I discovered that, instead of the lavender laundry soap, I used lavender bleach so my clothes now have that batik look from the 60’s. (Too bad they weren’t bell bottoms as I could call them a retro fashion statement!)
Last night Doug called for help from the bathroom. He was on the toilet with a nosebleed which now is a tricky thing because he needs the oxygen in his nose and only has one arm to navigate with. I helped with the nosebleed while he worked the oxygen and then we shuffled over to the shower.
The shower washed away the blood and the tension. There was a sweetness as we let the water wash it all away. I realize that in these moments when I let go of my agenda on doing and just am here than it allows the sweetness of the moment to be. In that tenderness there isn’t the nosebleed or tension.. Just the two of us taking a gentle shower.
After showering, we crawled into bed, both of us smelling clean from our unexpected shower. Reading, touching… sleeping.