You know most Thanksgivings I can come up with a substantial list of things I am grateful for. Everyday I can come up with at least 10. I live a pretty beautiful life.
But yesterday I was incapable of looking for things I am grateful for. Yesterday I was mad and scared and sad. Everyday I go through many cycles of grief. I come around to acceptance several times until I am faced with yet a new reality of this whole situation that requires a new cycle of grief.
Listening to Moana in the morning and thinking back on our trip to Maui in 2015 and how we likely won’t be able to explore all the Hawaiian islands together.
Watching Ronan dance to Moana and wondering if there will be a point where I won’t be able to listen to the music, not because my toddler has worn it out, but because of the other thing.
Watching Andy hold his niece at dinner, seeing how her beautiful red plaid taffeta dress spreads over his lap and thinking how, despite feeling like we achieved perfection the first time around and won’t have another kid, he will likely never be a father to a daughter. Or father in law to a daughter in law (or son in law).
How many more Thanksgivings do we have? I have a part of me that thinks someone has this answer, but isn’t giving it to me.
The grief is triggering. I spend most of the day managing my anxiety about abandonment, unsteady attachment figures, a need to be more competent, more intelligent, more charming to get what I want, which is my husband whole, healthy, happy.
But, my full planner and overworked to do lists are not good coping mechanisms. In this time, I think I need coping mechanisms that balance the need to be ordered and the need to feel. I feel like I’m spinning 12 plates at once, but what I really need is a good workout or an orgasm.
Also, I need people to stop suggesting more things for me to do. I’m not going to seek out more doctors right now. I’m not going to suggest Andy try on essential oils or new diet. I do not want your suggestions unless you are someone who deals with cancer patients or have been part of the inner circle of someone battling cancer. Stop projecting your shit onto me.
I also need coffee shops to stop playing moody music. And I need a little break from movies where people who love each other lose each other.
I definitely would not be able to watch the opening scene of Up right now.
This time reminds me of when I was a new mom and I lacked the words to adequately describe just how fucking hard it was. Except now instead of balancing the feelings and work of welcoming a very wanted family member into the fold, we are trying to figure out how to keep one who is already in the family happy and healthy.
Health is so fickle, right? I hear a lot of language about how if people are just trying to be healthy then they can be whatever size they want and that’s the price of admission to being part of our society. But Andy went from presenting the healthiest he’s felt in the last 15 years to fucking Stage IV cancer. If that doesn’t highlight the reason why heath-ism is bullshit, I don’t know what will.
Also, I’ve lost God.
I mean, we were never really tight to begin with. I sort of believed in the Universe or a collective unconscious. Last year I started playing with the idea of reclaiming some version of a Christian God.
Now, I can’t reconcile a lot of the language Christian religions use to describe God and God’s role in everything with what is happening.
Did God give Andy cancer? Does God really think we need to be tested this way? Are we less blessed because of this? Were we blessed to begin with? What is achieved by shortening Andy’s already shortened lifespan? How does this help me or Ronan or any of the other people who are clearly deeply affected by this?
God works in mysterious ways.
He sounds vindictive to me if this is how he chooses to be mysterious. Like the coworker who keeps using your half and half you’ve clearly labelled in the fridge as yours.
What if he’s the variety of God who stopped meddling? What if this is just a product of what he put into motion early on and we have to live with the outcomes? Then praying seems useless.
I’ve stopped praying. To a God anyway. I will sometimes have parts of me who will need to say out loud, “Please just let this all be ok.” I recognize these are parts of me who are young children afraid of losing the most protective, loving person they have had in their lives.
I don’t feel reliable. To myself, to my husband, to my son. If this all blows up, can I keep it together? I’m barely keeping it together. People keep commenting on how we seem to be handling this well. For sure I can present a version of myself that needs to be informative and accurate. I’m aware that there are over two hundred other people in the world watching all of this go down. (I didn’t even realize I knew that many people.)
I am aware of how many people want a silver lining in this.
Is it wrong if I can’t find a silver lining? I can’t find hope right now. I think in the whole large arc of the grief, I’m in Depression right now. (Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance–not necessarily in that order or with finality in any of the stages. Grief is not linear. Acceptance is not permanent.)
Ok, enough of this for now.