“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
I agree. My mom’s cancer prepared me to face my dad’s, which is much worse. I had seen her suffer. I was already used to the fact that good health could be hiding, or could turn into, advanced-stage illness in no time flat. I was used to scanxiety. I had lost friends in support groups who were much younger than my parents; I had been around end-stage patients in the infusion room; I had accepted that we all die, that life is random and unfair, that sometimes lingering disease precedes death–and that one day it will be my turn. I had crossed off the most important items on my bucket list–I had married and given my parents a grandbaby.
Now that my dad has cancer, the road is a road I have already traveled. It hasn’t been easy, but the bumps are more familiar, and it is all easier than it might have been.