Coping with Cancer

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Christmas, 2015.

I prepared this entry on Tuesday, March 3.

Today I feel very defeated.  Last week I felt it even more.  Emotion is all my air today.

I’m not sure what it must feel like to have cancer.  To feel like 80% of you is probably dying, while the 20% is wishing you won’t.  Cancer does that to you, even if you aren’t the one that has it.  But what I have learned that is so, so very important is to not treat the person like they’re dying.  You will rush around, cramming in all the time you never spent with him/her, and try to get the words to roll off your tongue how much you appreciate them..all the while, you’re doing this because they’re dying.  And they know that.  They know the only reason why people are here everyday, and calling everyday, and having him/her in their thoughts everyday, is because they are dying.  It’s so painfully obvious.  But you know what really sucks..  It’s when your heart feels as broken as mine and you can’t even think of telling them how much you care because you feel like hearing that will be enough to kill them.

Coping with cancer.  Is that even a thing?  Isn’t it the same thing as just plain ol’ dealing with death?  Yes, but no.  When someone gets diagnosed with cancer, from the second you get the news you try to prepare yourself for the day they pass.  Preparing for anything is just exhausting, but this drains you.  Whether they fight the fight and win, or fight the fight and lose, from day 1 you’re instant thought was them dying.  Truth is, you will never be prepared.  You will keep whispering to them not to give up, to keep fighting, that there’s always a miracle..but you already gave up the moment you got the call of the diagnosis.  Admit it, you did.  I did.  I’m over cancer’s bullshit.  What I will never be over is the wait of knowing whether they’re going to overcome the damn challenge, or they’re going to lose.  It’s the toughest battle and repeatedly, it makes my heart so heavy I can’t ever bare it.  You will try to tell yourself that it’s life, and everyone has to die.  And you’re right.  You are so right, but you will never make sense of it at all.  It’s unfathomable.  5, 13, 27 years from now it will never feel real that you really lost them.  It will still be hard to believe they’re gone, and it will not get any easier.  You question if time really does heal.

Sometimes you feel selfish because you want them to stick around so, so bad even though you see that they’re suffering.  It’s just the circle of life, not to compare our lives to The Lion King.  But it really is.  Things like this happen to not just you and me, but to everyone.  Cancer sucks, but at least you have an idea what is coming, and you’re given time to let it process.   Cancer is cruel, but it gives you time.  Whether they have a cure or not, we have to live with what is to come.  The most painful part is when the doctors tell you how much time they may have.  2 months to live.  You know what happens when they say 2 months to live?  They die a lot sooner than two months.  Even though you wake up everyday hoping today is not the day you get the news you don’t want to hear, I almost feel it’s better to expect that it will be today.  If it’s not, then at the end of the day let out a big sigh of relief.

I’m pretty familiar with cancer and it’s strength, and it’s pretty familiar with my family, too.  I lost my grandfather (mom’s) in 2011 to brain, lung, and colon cancer – obviously brain taking the crown on it.  Right in front of my eyes I watched him take his last breath, and his skin turn yellow.  I felt like I was in some animation film with how his skin just quickly shaded.  I lived in an apartment with my mom, with my grandparents on the first floor below us, but I was actually never too, too close with them.  They did a hell of a lot for me, and I saw more of them than I did my dad’s parents, but for some reason we were never always affectionate with each other.  Maybe because I saw them everyday.  But I love, and loved, them dearly.

It’s now 2015, and here I am reliving it all.  But I’m telling you…this is way harder for me.  My dad’s father has malignant cancer.  What is so sad to me is that he is the most stubborn guy, ever.  He loves to put up a fight.  And this fight is not going to be one he wins.  The fact that I know he’s almost ready to throw his hands up is absolutely heart breaking to me.  That’s just not who I know he is, but this is something he can’t argue his way through.

I’ve been so emotional the past two weeks now more than I ever have been.  I’ve fell asleep crying, just thinking about him makes my bottom lip start shaking.   My dad’s parents and I always had a great relationship.  My dad always forced the family thing on my little brother and me.  My grandmother was always a little bit more closer with my cousin, Chanel, and my grandfather was always closer with me.  It’s just how it happened.  No hard feelings.  Except for now, when I’m about to lose him.  My grandparents are my biggest supporters.  He’s been making me a happy girl ever since I was a little girl.  If I ever went too long without seeing or calling them, boy, would he give me the coldest shoulder.  All I had to do was be a shoe shiner to win his heart over, and over again.  That’s what he would always call me, a shoe shiner.

This morning I woke up at 7:09 AM, a little later than usual to get ready for work.  Way too disturbed though because of the dream I woke up from.  I was outside, and my grandfather was laying in a bed in back of a van, I think.  We were talking.  Well, he was talking and I was crying my eyes out.  I remember him saying “it’s time to let go, it’s time to move on..you think I was gonna stay around forever?!!”  I woke up after and I felt like my eyes were burning, I instantly started crying.

They say that sometimes people die with the loved ones by their side, or they don’t.

For the next Coping with Cancer post, click here.

A.

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