I exhausted myself staying one-step ahead of you – second guessing and overthinking, maneuvering in the background where you couldn’t see, where you would never look. Putting so much support in place and then camouflaging it in the care of other people. Ensuring doors opened for you effortlessly. I built scaffolding that was invisible – well, except to me since I was holding it together, or would have to rebuild it when someone dropped the ball, or forgot, or upset you in some way that was unjust. And again, so you wouldn’t see it. And you thought everyone else was amazing and so supportive, with their comments and cards.
The therapy, support groups, guidance counselors and even just talking to the friends of your parents – the time in searching for the right people to talk with, at the right time, just in case you needed them, we needed them, in the future.
And everyone keeps telling you how great you are doing, how he loves you and is looking down, how his strength will get you through, and how much he loves you. And I continue to hold up each of you like three boulders on my back. As parents themselves it is like they do not realize what it would take to get you through this in the real world of our lives. As if his memory is enough to get you through – and I’m just carrying on doing nothing for you. It is really easy to post a “he loves you” comment on an Instagram post – it is another to reach out and see if you actually need help.
I get the sense that they feel I’m the ex, and the one who is lucky to be alive – they were clear at the beginning with all of the “should’s” for me, especially for my wallet. Maybe they can’t even imagine that I would say a kind word about him – or make you scrapbooks they chose not to contribute to.
My unwavering position from the day of his diagnosis was that you would be ok…you would survive the initial shock of the “c” word. Right from the start my research led me in the scariest of directions, and “no hope” was the best outlook we had. But then there was the part of me that didn’t want to be the grim reaper – sure, there is hope, maybe he would be the exception, the miracle would happen. In my heart I hoped but new the gruesome reality of what we were facing. Where was I wrong, that it would all be over so quickly and I would be left holding a bag of insanity to sort out, almost all on my own.
But now six months later and you have realized that you are going to get through this – where there was no hope you actually see opportunity and your own strength. You’ve realized, “Oh look, time marches on, life goes on…I’m still standing.” You are surprising yourself and astounding me with your insight.
Take the “he loves you” comment with a grain of salt – people need to be in the public eye showing support. For the record there are only a handful of people who have actually reached out to me – and honestly, I talked to them on a daily basis before his diagnosis.