If you aren’t into other peoples therapeutic rants you might want to give this one a miss – I won’t judge 🙂
I didn’t ask for this. In fact I tried to prevent it. I may seem calm and together but often I’m terrified and panicking – I have seen before the slow decline from human being to nothing. I couldn’t stop it then. It seems I can’t stop it now. I know there is hope, much more than for my mother, but I cannot deny the vulnerable figure huddled under the covers is not the man I once knew, and I feel fear for him. Yes he is still essence-of-Nige, I still love him deeply, he is not really so different. Lighter, less hairy, the light-up-the-room grin now a rare sight, but his mind is still his. Although more sensitive and emotional than before, and of course so focused on surviving each day, hour, minute. It must feel like it doesn’t belong to him at times. Parts of Nige I love more, others I mourn the loss of, but he is still my best friend, his soul has never changed, it is still perfect and just so “good”. And it makes me terribly sad that he has to go through this. No matter how many people help and surround you, when you are sick, you are alone in so many ways.
Our roles have changed. I am his caregiver now. A role in life neither of has had prepared for. We often forget our lines, and the same scenes are repeated over and over. It seems the director is never satisfied and we can never get it right. I have always been a details person, Nige a big picture man. He’s all “don’t sweat the small stuff” whereas I’m all “the devils in the detail”. When we’re playing nicely together, we’re a formidable team, but when we’re not – watch out! I over analyse and imagine things that aren’t there, while he can let important factors slip by. At the moment it feels like every day we’re going in to battle, with each other. Armed with our rights and independence and knowledge and fear. But the true enemy is unseen. An insidious stranger in the midst. The enemy is not cancer, it’s death and loss and suffering. And I feel an unworthy opponent for such things.
We are tired. Weary of the cancer and the way it has eaten into our lives, just as it tries to infiltrate Nige’s body. But I’ll be damned if I let it. And that’s the problem you see. The tight control I feel I need over this situation, the helplessness, the fear, the anger, the sadness, are all pointless emotions. But I need them to get through this. I need to feel like I’m doing SOMETHING to help the man I love. Otherwise it seems I am I simply standing idly by, wishing upon a star.
I am still positive. I still wake each day with fresh hope and a smile, as though a spirit nurse has patched me up during the night. Thoughts of coffee lifting and carrying me from bed to kitchen in a dream-like state. For there’s one trick I have up my sleeve that is more than a match for fear, loss, suffering and any other negative emotion that threatens to arise. I’m a bloody optimist. And a tenacious one at that. Just try and hold me down, you’ll find it won’t work for long. I’m like a balloon under water, a Weeble that will wobble but won’t fall down. A squirrel high on caffeine.
Sometimes I’m also just really fucked off. Whatever gets you through.
Nige didn’t ask for cancer either. There is no way he would choose to go through this, or see his loved ones suffer. He’s an optimist too. But even the biggest and brightest balloons can be held down so long they forget which way is up. That’s where I come in. A crazed squirrel high on caffeine, swimming down to grab that balloon round the neck, and drag it to the surface. I just have to be careful I don’t pop it.