In the news, I am sure you heard that Brittany Maynard, brain cancer patient, decided to opt out. I have seen brain cancer up close and personal. I don’t blame her. I would, too.
My dad passed some time ago. I can’t un-see the things I saw. I can only endure. I feel like people must feel coming out of a war zone, watching their friends be hit by gunfire. I am sure I have some form of PTSD and sometimes as the finality of my loss sinks in I think it is getting worse and not better. I remember the stupid advice I gave to people in the face of their own losses. “Be sure to take care of yourself.” I know now how stupid and patronizing that advice sounds. If I could take care of myself, wouldn’t I?
The world is full of people my age with parents, and grandparents. It’s even full of brain tumor patients who lived longer than my dad, in better condition, who didn’t lose everything that makes life worth living until the end. I am angry. I am powerless and impotent, so I am angry. I wish the anger would go away. It hurts me and it hurts the people around me.
People say that the caregiver will never understand the patient’s journey, and that is certainly true. But the caregiver’s journey isn’t much better, although it is different. I would say that we saw brain cancer more closely than my father did because although it was his body I am not sure he was always aware of what was going on. Besides, it wasn’t he who had to watch himself die, or prepare his own funeral.
In the wake (heh…funeral, wake, get it?) of things, I am trying to do some nice things for myself. I am working out again, sort of. I am having the ton of doctor appointments I had put off during my dad’s illness. I need to get my hair cut. Doing those things, at least, feels good.
There were people who knew me a few years ago. I was a single woman who was focused on my career and loved my healthy parents. Apart from being very lonely, I was relatively carefree because I wasn’t aware of all the horrid things that could happen in life. Since then my career has been blown to shreds. I am a married mom without a father. My life is unrecognizable and I have seen horrible things. My hair is gray. I feel no wiser, but my body aches. Is this growing up? Because it sucks.