As the needle searched for a vein to produce one vial of blood, I winced in pain until the tech said “got it”. Guess by now, almost one year since my diagnoses, it should be easier, but its not because I have tiny veins. As she packed up my specimen to send to the lab, she paused and said “I don’t know how you do it.” After she exited my house, I burst into tears and cried to my husband “as IF I have a choice.” I did not choose to have cancer and I sure didn’t choose to lose my precious child four years ago. Four years! I still cry when I allow myself to really comprehend that brutal truth.
August is an awful month for my family. Amy’s death date and birthdate are 8 days apart during this month. Regardless of what I plan or do, these are two dates on the calendar that hurt like hell. Even the days leading up to those dates are difficult to manage. I have come to accept the August pain as part of my life now. My youngest brother also died in August on the same date I was diagnosed with cancer. August breaks my heart.
Over the course of the last four years countless people have said the same words –“I don’t know how you do it” OR “I am sorry”. By now I know others search for words when it comes to addressing my cancer and the death of my child. What would I say if I were in their shoes? Probably those same words so why do I get pissed off or resent their words when I am the recipient of those words now? Is it the look of pity I see in their eyes? I loathe pity yet I do feel sorry for myself at times for these horrific whammies which now rule my thoughts and heart as well as have forever changed my life.
Trust me it is hurtful some of the things even my dearest friends say; i.e., comparing any problem in their life to my life as a way of putting their issue in perspective. No big surprise that I always have the worst life so they can brush them self off and go on their merry way knowing it could be worse.
This past year battling cancer has been painful beyond words. Now I can speak first hand on the physical pain of cancer and the emotional pain of losing Amy. I felt like an alien after Amy died and now that I have cancer, well suffice to say my world has become more unrecognizable even to me.
There were the friends and family who showed up to support me after my dear Amy died and now an even larger group who have supported me during this past year. Most of these same people remain present even now. I lost all of my hair and almost 100 lbs. and they still loved me. If the love from family and friends could cure me, I would be back to physically living my life again as a grieving mother instead of turning my life and body over to the medical community. Thank goodness I now have a pixie head of hair and I am slowly putting some weight back on since I have an appetite again, but physically I still struggle.
There have been no life lessons that I wanted to learn related to losing Amy or getting very ill with cancer. I will always envy the complete families who have all of their children here on this side of the veil. I detest that we are living without Amy and I also detest that my family has watched me suffer. Dammit — life can be so cruel and unfair to some of us. Yet I have never ever wished to join Amy as my pull has been to be with my wonderful husband and children.
I beg you — should anyone read these ramblings, please do not post a comment of sympathy or mention you don’t know how I do it. Most of all, please don’t tell me to “stay strong”. What choice do I have but to remain strong because my kids are watching… They may not read my blog but they are definitely watching me. Even Amy. I struggle with referring to her as my guardian angel because it was my job to look after her and I am so sad that I have been robbed of that role. There is not a day that goes by that I do not ache for her.
Always remembering Amy.