The Villa Rosa blog hop is taking you to these blogs today.
Now to today’s post. January 24th, 2019 was a tough one for me. I look at that day as the beginning of the end. Today marks the four-year anniversary.
For you long-time blog readers you already know the story of how I finally talked my husband, Kramer, a long-time smoker, into asking his doctor to have a CT Scan done.
The previous six months or so I had noticed my strong energetic 57-year-old husband slowly slept more and tired more easily. It was nothing terrible. It was nothing someone else might not even notice. It was something I tried to pass off as him getting older. Me, I always had it in the back of my mind that smoking was going to get him so had been vigilant about watching for signs. I couldn’t help but wonder if this was one of the signs so I pushed him to get a CT scan.
After a month or so of nagging, I finally got him to ask for a CT scan when he was going to the doctor for something else.
He went in, had the scan, and then went back to work. I was going about my day and the computer dinged that I had an email. I went and looked. It was his test results. Not thinking anything I looked. There was the test result of his CT scan. I clicked. It said he had cancer. It told all about the location of the mass. It told where it was located. It told how big it was. What it didn’t tell me was how my life was going to change.
The cancer wasn’t little…it was invasive. It was bad. I knew it. The report said it.
As a wife, what do you do with that information? I had childcare kids at my house. Do I call him? Do I call our adult kids? Do I call my childcare parents? WHAT DO I DO???
It was the worst feeling in the world.
I ended up… calling my daughter Kalissa. She lived close and whatever happened, she’d likely be a part of it with either having to watch the kids so I could go out and talk to Kramer or telling him with me.
I started out telling her…UGH. What a crappy thing to have to do…”Honey, your dad has cancer and it’s bad” isn’t what anyone wants to tell their kid.
It’s so hard…I was about to shatter her innocent world. Who wants to do that?
Then in the middle of talking to her and trying to make a plan, my phone beeped. It was Kramer. The doctor’s office had called him. They wanted him to come in. He was coming home and was going to change clothes and go to his appointment.
What do I say now…by the way I’m riding with because I know you have cancer??
UGH. I asked if they said why he was supposed to come back in…he said they wanted to talk to him. I didn’t tell him. I didn’t say the “C” word. I thought what’s a few minutes gonna make? I’d tell him when he got home.
He got here…okay. I need to tell him. Right?? No. He went straight to the basement to change clothes.
He comes upstairs. I need to tell him. Right?? I need to say that “C” word. I asked again what the doctor’s office said. I was worried he knew and wasn’t saying anything because he didn’t want to freak me out. Maybe he knew and I really didn’t need to tell him…
But, I did have to tell him. I had to say that “C” word.
I took him to the computer and showed him what I had read. I expected some kind of reaction from him but there really was nothing. Did he read what I read? Did I read it right? What was happening? Everything seemed to be in slow motion. Why wasn’t he saying anything? I wanted to scream!! I wanted him to say something…react…something. But I got nothing.
He really didn’t say anything and I was so confused by it all. We rode pretty quietly all the way to the office, 30 minutes away. Trust me, my mouth might have been quiet but my brain was everywhere pinging from point to point.
We got to the doctor. The nurse took us back to a consult room-not an exam room…She said the doctor wasn’t in yet. He was coming in special on his day off to talk to us. That’s when I really knew what I read was right. He did have cancer.
There is this limbo hell you go through after being told…because the mass has to be biopsied for them to really tell you it truly is cancer. They tell you it likely is. They tell you protocol for what happens once the result is back and it is cancer…but they don’t quite tell you it’s cancer. So then you wait…days for appointments with specialists…then you wait days for surgeons’ schedules to open. It was miserable….but January 24th was the start of it all, the waiting, the watching, the fear, the end.
Part of me will always hate this day.
Today marks the four-year anniversary of that awful day. The further away from it that I get, I can see so much more…it’s still a painful day. It’s still a hard day. It’s still an anniversary that I have ZERO problems remembering.
When my husband first died people would say things like, “It gets easier as time passes.” Oh, that made me frustrated. I was here now…I wasn’t worried about how I’d be in the future, I was worried about how I was going to be on that very day they said that…in the very moment they said it.
but, the truth is…
They are kind of right…but…
It is not really time that makes it easier. It’s a lot of hard work that makes it easier. It’s a lot of blubbery tears that make it better. It’s lots of successful experiences. It’s a lot of unsuccessful experiences too. It’s excessive talking about it. It’s buying a lawnmower and a car and making insurance decisions on your own. It’s realizing that things that had been staples, like only one dog in the house are gone because he’s not there and you can do whatever you want.
Time just happens while the people who are grieving do a lot of hard work yet time gets all of the credit for making things tolerable. It really is all of the hard grieving work that makes it better.
I had to smile when I saw this shirt…
That, to me, defines the age-old question I always get asked…How are you doing? I think I just might start saying this in reply…
“I may cry but I can still get things done.”
I do a lot less crying these days. Some people would credit time for making it better. Me, I am crediting all of the hard work I’ve done.
It’s been 1461 days since I first learned Kramer had cancer and 1332 days since he passed. I’ve had lots of days doing the hard work. It’s a 24/7 365 days a year job and I’ve been at the job for four years. Trust me, I have a lot of work experience. I will never finish doing the hard work and I know that now. I can’t retire from it. The job might ebb and flow. But the job is always there. The thing is…now I know the job I’m assigned and the work has become routine. I feel more comfortable. I don’t worry that I’m not doing it right. I don’t have to think about how to do it…or when to do it. The job has become routine. The hard work had just become natural and there is an odd comfort in that.
Don’t let that fool you though. Every once in a while, the machine breaks down, and work gets a little harder again….but eventually, that odd comfort comes back.
I get messages and comments from blog readers all of the time telling me their loved one was recently diagnosed with something hard or they recently lost a loved one. My heart just breaks.
I am immediately right back there with them. I’m the woman in the doctor’s consultation room hearing the awful news and truly realizing it is real. I’m the wife at the graveside trying not to cry. I’m the woman trying to figure out how to remodel a bathroom. I’m the woman who feels totally awkward in the first family picture without their husband. I am right there with you feeling all the hardest feelings.
I’m not going to tell you that time will make it better…it’s not time…What makes it better is every day you show up and you do the work of grieving. That hard work will truly bring you to a spot where the work of grieving becomes a little more natural…a little more comfortable and a lot less scary…and pretty soon it becomes just a new engrained part of you that sometimes you can forget…but then once in while, on a day like today, that grief becomes a little more.
It’s those days that I’m back to the work.
No worries…I’m totally okay. It’s just a working day for me…