Post Script: I worked myself to death at work; thank goodness for the distraction. Then I met someone at home to talk about draperies. Then the kids and I went to dinner and I had wine. And the thoughts and the pain remain. But I tried.
Something’s obviously up. It’s before 8 a.m. and I’m answering and posting Facebook quizzes. There’s some classic avoidance going on here. Why, you ask?
At least I know why, thanks to the advice to put all of Adam’s anniversaries on my calendar, denying them the chance to take me by surprise and cripple me.
Four years ago our dear Tom, despite his own illness, operated on Adam’s brain and removed two melanoma tumors that were creating pressure in his brain. Our hope was that this surgery would, in relieving the pressure, allow Adam to discontinue the steroids that precluded the beginning of chemotherapy. We hadn’t been able to treat the cancer in his body because we were trying so desperately to get the brain under control.
My lovely sister came to Wake Forest to figuratively hold my hand during the surgery. She did a good job–keeping her peace but keeping an eye on me.
I’ll never forget the moment Tom came into the waiting room in his clean scrubs to give me a positive report, and people staring as I gave him a big hug. I guess it’s not routine for people to hug the surgeon.
Then it was into the ICU. Amazingly, Adam seemed to be better off than many of those in the unit. The guy beside him probably did not make it. I can’t remember the details anymore, but this guy was perilously ill. His situation put me in a curious state of calm.
Our rector happened to be in Winston for a conference, and came by to give his support along with his colleague from Dickerson Chapel in Hillsborough. As I had during so much of Adam’s treatment, I felt so blessed to have been surounded by caring friends willing to go out of their way to show their concern and support.
Caroline wanted a picture of her dad to reassure her that he was ok, and I’m thankful for the post-op picture I have of him. His color was so good, he looked so healthy except for the huge line of staples in his head. And because the surgeon was our friend, we also have a picture of Adam’s brain! It was such a good brain, and an unutterable shame that it was invaded by cancer.
Well I’ve gone on long enough on a morning when I’m supposed to be getting ready for work. Just had to get this out so I could concentrate on something else. I hope.
As always, thanks for listening.
From Tuesday, May 4…
What is *UP*? No anniversaries until the 17th, but something is biting at me.
One of the more awful things about grief, to me, is that you can be having a great day, a great week, even, and then you innocently open a binder wondering if you can use it for recipes and *boom*! you’re back there in that awful time and place.
So you might be guessing that this very thing just happened to me, and you’d be right.
I *finally* got a job, one I actually look forward to doing. I started yesterday. It was great to be out of the house for a change. Didn’t go in today so have been taking care of office work here. Was looking for a binder for aforementioned recipes and found a stash in the closet off of my office. Opened it to remove its contents, and was slapped in the face by a sheaf of radiology reports. Line after line of descriptions of pulmonary and adrenal tumors, liver tumors, a large mass on the iliac crest.
Nausea. Grief. The realization that I’d never seen these reports. He hid them from me, away in this binder. He didn’t want me to know. Knife in the heart and more grief for him bearing so much of his illness alone. I mean, that’s the way he wanted it but we always like to “be there” don’t we?
I just had to stop working. The nausea is still with me and I feel the need for a nap—a sure sign of stress.
And that’s not all. Last night, early this morning, rather, I had that dream again, the one where he’s alive and in my life, only to tell me he’s leaving me for someone else. This time he didn’t seem so sick, though, so maybe I’m healing in some small way. When he showed up in my dream I must have asked him where he’d been, because he said he’d been in California. A business trip.
Life and emotions sure are complicated.