When I found out the cancer was actively growing again I was completely calm. I don’t think I was surprised so I don’t recall even a skipped heart beat at the news. I took it in stride. Made the phone calls, texts and emails I needed to make and went on with life. I got all philosophical about marathons. I was full of shit.
Then one night the girls were in bed, my beloved Science Guy was in the shower, and a Motrin commercial came on. I don’t remember much other than a little girl with the flu and her mother by her bed. They zoomed in on the little girl putting her tiny fat hand on her mom and I lost it. I don’t know what else happened or what they said on tv. I simply lost it.
I started to panic. I panicked that this new drug won’t work. That I’ll never see the tiny hands of my grandchildren. That I’ve begun the wrap up phase of this not nearly long enough life.
I got myself under control until a couple of days later when I was over tired. We were supposed to go to a hot springs with the girls but as usual we put it off. I’m not even sure why other than SG started looking up different places to go and it pissed me off. One thing led to another and the next thing I knew we were staying home. Staring at each other. Bored. Doing nothing. Again.
SG suggested we take a walk and the minute we hit the driveway I lost it. I didn’t speak to him for blocks and then when I did, I’m pretty sure he wished for the silence back.
I accused him of working too hard. Of never wanting to do anything. Of wasting the additional 7 years I’ve been given.
I brought up the 19-year-old complaint that we’ve never had a honeymoon. I told him I was going to die before we did. I told him I was going to die and the girls would have no memories of me other than staring at each other in our fucking tiny house.
Oh, I was on a roll. I was tossing the F word around left and right and generally making a complete ass of myself while he walked silently beside me occasionally apologizing.
And then I crossed a line.
I accused him of putting me at the bottom of his priority list.
He stopped. I stopped and looked back and the look on his face shut me up. He told me that wasn’t fair. That everything was on hold last summer while I trained, and went to, the marathon. Oh yeah, he went there. And he even raised his voice while doing it.
Then he reminded me how he’s trying to run two different facilities on campus and has no help and time for himself. Never takes time for himself. He’s right. HE is at the bottom of his priority list. Working is ass off and “where the hell are we supposed to get the money for some tropical vacation?”. At least he held back on the fact that all our extra income goes to keep me alive. Yeah, I pretty much suck.
I think that was practically the first time in our marriage he’s talked back and stood up for himself. I’m kind of a bitch.
I apologized and tried to explain the panic of knowing that my time with the girls is finite and likely to end so much sooner than I’d hoped.
I assured him I wasn’t asking for a week in Aruba. I only wanted an afternoon. He understands as well as he can that I’m scared of running out of time. That we need to grab onto this time and make as many good memories as we can. That I’m afraid we’ve wasted so many opportunities because one or both of us is exhausted.
Life passes by all too quickly and it’s easy to push things to another day. But what if your number of days is unknown? What if every little pain reminds you of what could go terribly wrong?
And what if you take it out on the one person who loves you the most and has done everything he possible can to make your time easier? I wonder some days why he stays. He loves me but for the life of me, I can’t figure out why.
We walked and we talked and I tried to stop freaking out. He tried to talk me down and in the end we had miles behind us trying to get my eyes to be half way normal by the time we got home to the girls.
I hope that in the end we both learned a little. I know I was reminded how easy it is to hurt people we love when we’re being so completely unfair and saying things we don’t mean in a dark moment.
And I hope he better understands that sense of panic that hangs over me as I watch life fly by and worry that I’m using up my good days.
I think I’ve also come to realize that the honeymoon I bitch about not having has maybe been happening all along.