Sunday, September 18, 2011

Spirit in the Sky

I want to be clear on something- I love Wash. He's my husband and my best friend. I love him.

That being said, I can sure as hell get angry at the cancer in his head and the effects of trying to kill the cancer and not my Wash.

He had a BAD day on Friday. They are the kind of days that the oncologists and nurses and friends who have gone through it before can warn about, but never really prepare you for. (Thanks Jo & Rose!)

He was just not Wash on Friday.

He was angry. He was forced to confront some issues in his therapy and they came out on me. He can't exactly take his own brain out and yell at it, so I take the brunt. That part sucks. I don't even know really how to describe these days to his friends and family- the close ones that need to know the details. Remember that Wash can pull off "normal" with a hat for a few minutes to most people, but thankfully he has found some comfort with a few friends just being himself.
He was speaking in the same voice, and it was the same body. I can really only describe it as close to how he was acting when the tumor was in his brain- his voice, his body, but not his words or his mind.
MY husband would never say such frakking evil things to me.
Cancer? It has no reservations about saying the most hideous thing and with the sharpest of points. Case in point- I'm trying to help Wash, trying to explain that Friday I was not the enemy but he might need more help than I could give. I have to think it was the cancer or some damage that caused him to say such nasty things to me.

I watched a film last night that was a small companion documentary to a book I read a few months ago on forgiveness and grace. Even knowing that it is not always my husband's WILL that causes him to do something horrid - that still needs some communication of forgiveness to pass between us. We're not just roommates. We're not just best friends. I'm not just a 24/7 nurse- that is my husband slowly being eaten away by cancer in the other room, our relationship greatly impacts his length and quality of life.
We don't go to bed angry. For me the chance of him not waking up tomorrow is always so great I never want to risk sleeping away out of anger again. It really only wastes time we don't have.
What this means though, in reality, is that I have to be willing to forgive ANYTHING by bedtime.

This way of thinking, which is a far cry and change from my own youth, proves challenging to me sometimes. I find myself forgiving Wash with more ease, but feeling more anger at others who I see as wasting my time or energy. It's not really mine, for right now Wash is borrowing it all until he passes. I see things as my time can be wasted, but not his.
It all has to end with letting it go, though.

Friday was a monster named brain cancer living in my husband's skin.

Saturday he seemed to come back. That's the terrible nature of this. I can always always always hope that he will be back to "Wash". Cancer says I really never know who he will be when he wakes.

Every new day I am thankful that he is still with me. 3% make it 18 months. He's at 23 months now. He's a person, now defined by a statistic.
My goal, my challenge, is to make sure that every day he is alive here, now, is better in quality for him than death. Some days I think I fail. Some he falls asleep happy and telling me he loves me.
He's the other half of me. He's my heart. He's the person I would take cancer for. He's the man I'd wait 2000 years for, locked in a box.
How can I stay angry at the person I'd fight hardest for?

Sometimes.... I wish it was not real. A great story, a great myth. I could conquer mountains, Hell, and gods for him. I would have that River Tam shot, saving him, and in the end, a medical CURE would be found.
I remember it's all real instead. There is no magic cure. Fighting won't really save his life. I can't bring him back once he's gone.
There is no "set" ending. There is no happy news or 11th hour reprieve. Real life is so far away from fiction, the little minutiae of living each moment. Real life means now knowing that the "happy ending" only happens in fiction.


  1. I think everyone understands what you mean when you write about your frustrations (as much as any of us can, of course). Don't ever feel like you have to clarify anything for anyone, this is YOUR space. <3

  2. #1) After Wash's bad day this past Friday, when he said such nasty things to you, it seems - (to me) - as if you're mastering the very *difficult* task of being genuinely forgiving............ on a *repeated*, and very *unpredictable*, basis.

    IT'S ~ THAT ~ DAMN-WRETCHED-DAMAGE ~ FROM ~ WASH'S ~ BRAIN ~ CANCER, ~ AND ~ HIS ~ MANY ~ THERAPEUTICALLY-NECESSARY ~ RXS, ~ SAYIN' ~ THAT ~ STUFF ~ TO ~ YOU, ~ TASHI............ AND ~ *NOT*............ (the real essence of) ~ THE ~ MAN ~ YOU ~ LOVE, as you know.

    #2) It personally took me a long, long time to really "get it" about Forgiveness, because I USED TO think that forgiving someone meant you had to first feel that what the other person said (and/or did) to you WASN'T "wrong."

    For years, what I didn't know is that you can STILL ACKNOWLEDGE that, yes, what the other person said (and/or did) to you *WAS* INDEED VERY WRONG............ yet you can STILL FORGIVE the other person (!!).

    True, genuine Forgiveness means saying that bad/wrong things ARE bad/wrong things............ and true, genuine Forgiveness also means that you DON'T HAVE TO FORGET (!!), in your mind, the bad/wrong things either............ (which, for you, Tashi, is actually neurologically impossible, memory-wise).

    #3) An example of true, genuine Forgiveness is your not going to bed angry, i.e., you "Don't Let The Sun Set On Your Anger"............ (which is the maxim you always follow, at the end of those bad days that Wash has, e.g., like this past Friday). You can also still be VERY REALISTIC about it all, too----(as you most, most-definitely ARE)----yet you always just "let go of" your (VERY HUMAN AND UNDERSTANDABLE!!) anger/bitterness/resentment towards Wash after those bad days, e.g., like this past Friday was.

    You----(and your emotional/physical exhaustion)----still, of course, CAN'T FORGET those bad days Wash has; yet you *CHOOSE*............ NOT TO, (emotionally and spoken words-wise), STAY angry/bitter/resentful at the one person, (i.e., Wash), whom you're fighting the hardest for............ and that, Tashi, is............ true, genuine Forgiveness. Not necessarily "forgetting," but just "letting go of"............ that VERY HEAVY, (and very human and understandable!!), BLANKET of angry/bitter/resentful emotions and spoken words.

    #4) If all of this were a fictional story, (as you noted), you'd just be able to blithely/nonchalantly "pop-up happy"............ after your takin' this past Friday's thumpin'.

    However, it's on the days that AREN'T like this past Friday----(i.e., no matter how many of those precious days there yet may be for Wash)----where you'll have to, as you know, G.R.A.B. O.N.T.O. that very-*elusive* thing, (in many, many of our sorrow-infused lives), called............ *Happiness*.

  3. Came across your blog today for the first time. Just wanted to say that your love for you husband is an inspiration. I'm proud of you. Love.

  4. You two are the most beautiful examples of unconditional love I have ever seen. As soon as I get paid I'll be donating whatever I can.

    All my love <3

  5. My mon is dying of brain cancer. Glioblastoma. She's 75 and you get used to say things like: "She had her life, she lived enough..." Could be.
    I read part of your posts (came across the blog just today) and I found my self, parts of me, written in your words. We began to fight 2 years ago and now we're at the end, she's sleeping 24 hours a day.
    But, well yeah, life is not fair in any way. It's just things happening around us, that become things happening "inside" us. I know what it means feeling strong for one hour and desperate for the next two. Then happy for a commercial on TV and sad for unspoken words from the person you love.
    Did I learn something? Only one thing: do not search for rules, do not push the mountain, it's too heavy. Cancer always kills the wrong person, doesn't it? Or is it just that life is a tale written in a foreign language?
    I'm with you, with my heart (I live in Italy, too far for a hug).
    Never forget that your book, whatever the "language", is a work in progress. And you're the one who's learning how to read it.