My life has been up and down over the past several weeks. I have written in general, but was not sure how much I wanted to share. Perhaps I have processed enough to let you in a bit further. Have you ever been with someone when the doctor says "no further treatment?" This happened to me a few weeks ago and I must say at first I was a bit numb. In many ways, I am glad that I am strong, stoic and calm. Papa and I went to meet with cancer team (they come in one at a time) to discuss a treatment plan so imagine our surprise when they said "...no further treatment....as the cancer has spread...we recommend palliative and hospice care." I can say they were trained well, as they were professional yet caring and dare I say human. I will admit my eyes leaked a little as I watched papa be so stoic and strong. He asked how long do I have and they provided an answer. In between doctors he looked at me and said, "is everything settled so your mother is taken care of?" I said yes. He then said, "ok, I'll be waiting for your mother." I truly don't know how I remained so together, except my calm, logical brain kicked in and I knew I had to drive home. Again, between doctors, papa said to me, "you have no idea what goes through your mind when they tell you this." I replied, "No I don't, do you want to tell me?" We chatted for a few minutes about his thoughts. I felt horrible as I was in shock a bit and told my sister via text and I had told myself I would never do that.
I mentioned a few weeks ago to a friend that papa is preparing for the end as he is getting all his papers in order, changing how he wants his funeral, and ensuring I know what's what. He never talked about it, but I believe somewhere down deep he knew his cancer was back. Since his doctors appointment we have had even deeper conversations and I'm hearing stories I never heard before. Papa has the strangest way of having a deep discussion in the car which I think he does so I can't react. He said to me the other day, "aren't you tired of taking care of me?" I said, "No I'm blessed that I am able to be here for you." He then said, "I'm so glad you are here." Of course, my eyes wanted to leak big time, but I held it in as I was driving. I am so blessed that we get to have these deep conversations. Papa is interesting because I always know when he starts to get emotional because as he said one day...that's enough about nostalgia. As a coach, I can't put words to what this all means to me and I so want to pass on the possibilities of these moments to others.
We are taking life one day at a time and that's not a bad thing. I am truly focused on trying to live in the moment with papa. I told papa if there is something you want or need to do or anyone you want to see or talk to, just let me know and I'll make it happen. He wants ice cream we head to his favorite place. He wants to sit outside, we sit outside. He wants to see someone, I track them down. Last night he worked for hours preparing eggplant parmesan because he loves it and knows its one of my favorite meals - we are having it for dinner today with the kids. He left me clean up duty and I must admit the kitchen was in complete chaos. I had to laugh when I found sauce splattered not only on the floor, but on the pantry door. It was cathartic at 10:30 last night cleaning up the kitchen and putting things back in order.
In order to keep my balance and sense of order, I have attended two guided meditation classes. I am not good at meditating on my own so I thought the class would be a good idea. I have to say OMG what an experience. The class is run by my energy coach and she keeps the class small. It turns out I have met most of the participants previously as we have attended many of the energy classes together. The other night we finished with a prayer circle and they dedicated it to my father. I have never felt so blessed and comforted. This was my first prayer circle and now I know why people engage in them. If you have an opportunity to attend one the energy is amazing. As I mentioned in a previous blog, I carry my stones and rosary beads and sometimes I simply sit and hold them for a few minutes to gather calmness and peace.
I still visit mema almost every day for a few hours. I try to make sure she at least eats one meal a day. We are noticing that she might be moving to another stage. We have not told her about papa's health except to say he will visit tomorrow. Sometimes as we are sitting there quietly, I do get a little down, and feel my eyes leak a little. I usually pull it together right away and go back to focusing on my blessings.
Have you ever read a book and struggled to finish it? I have been reading a book for weeks and just could not get into it. I kept thinking it was on a list of the top books to read for women and received critical acclaim, so I should read it. I kept thinking I would get something out of it, but when I was done all I felt was a sense of relief. I will pass this on to the lending library with pleasure. Perhaps it was just not the book for me. The book: "HOW SHOULD A PERSON BE?" by Sheila Heti.
I also caught up on a few movies this week - I watch an hour here and hour there. Footloose (I realized I had never seen the entire movie); The Accountant; and Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. Talk about three completely different genres.
I am going to leave it here for today. Wow, I put a lot out there today - thank you for being part of my journey. Thank you to all who have reached out to me whether near or far - I know you are there if I need it. I hope you have a good week. Take care. Chat soon. Marie
“Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome.” ― Isaac Asimov
“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.” - ― Shannon L. Alder
“Be calm. God awaits you at the door.” - ― Gabriel García Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera