It was the beginning of August 2008. Edd and I had been married a little over a year. I was still living in San Antonio because I had a good job that I wasn’t ready to give up and Edd would never have asked me to. He still had his condo and job in Austin. So we had two homes and would go back and forth to both on various weekends. We were making it work, but it wasn’t easy. We wanted to live together in one house. There were too many nights alone.
I still remember one particular night. We were going to sleep and he said, “Tomorrow I have a doctor’s appointment. A colonoscopy. I want you to listen real close to what the doctor says afterwards because I will be drowsy… oh and I want to tell you, I’ve had a little bit of blood the last couple of weeks.”
What? Really? I hadn’t known.
The next day we went for his appointment. Afterwards the doctor handed me pictures and didn’t offer any explanation. Yet. I was left to myself with Edd still unawake. I saw something in the photos taken that looked ugly. Looked disturbing … and I was alarmed. The doctor didn’t ease my fears.
That is how it all began. Almost 3 years ago. It’s been a rocky road and a mixed bag of terror, hope, relief, anger, trust, grief, and despair. We were ushered into the world of doctors, surgeries, endless appointments, specialists, procedures, decisions…. My faith has been tested and shaken and questioned and clung to. I’ve cried out to God as I have felt the life and hope drain out of me after hearing troubling news after troubling news.
And it’s changed me. It’s changed us. I still grieve what will never be. I’ve heard we need to grieve the past, leave it there, and move forward but I am still clinging to the “what could have beens” and “what should have beens”. I’m still in the midst of the storm and am trying to learn how to live there.
There are words I never would have heard had it not been for the cancer …. like….
I wouldn’t have missed being married to you for anything.
I know you say I’m not a burden, but I don’t want to abandon you.
Not many people get 10 years like we have.
You have half of my molecules. If you left me I would be ripped apart.
I would rather have cancer and you, than not have cancer and not have you.
I am going to break your heart. It's my only regret.
And words I seem to say every day.
How did I ever get so lucky to have you for my husband?
There’s just no one who could ever come close to you in my eyes.
The tears flow when I allow them to. They are always there. It just takes my thoughts a slight diversion and they come gushing out. I realized that this morning. I hold them in. I’ve gotten very good at that. I’ve thought that crying and thinking on what I miss is just not good for me. Focus on what IS. Don’t feel sorry for yourself. Well, maybe that’s why I am so stressed. Maybe that is why my health and heart has suffered. Maybe that is why I find it hard to sleep. Maybe that is why my body hurts.
Edd and I talked this morning about the stresses of the past 3 months, no 6 months…
I realized he NEEDS to concentrate on these “get your affairs in order” type of issues. He NEEDS to know we are taken care of. He NEEDS to focus on these things. It is just how he shows his love. It’s how he’s made. When I expressed my need for HIM he said with tears in his eyes… “all I do is for you….” And I know it is… I feel it every day. But it doesn’t make me happy. It just breaks my heart.
BUT… my life, our life, is GOOD. Every day it is GOOD. It really is. I’m thankful. Very thankful.
"I can be changed by what happens to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it." - Maya Angelou