Friday, April 23, 2010

How is it when a loved one is sick?
Not just a regular flu sick, but seriously sick?

It's been just a couple months into our relationship, but then we figured out this news.
What do you do when your boyfriend has cancer?

It's been a couple months now, and we've settled into a quasi-routine.
The illness and the treatment takes a lot out of him. And it's a tough battle that he fights. But he is strong and he fights on.

The helplessness that I feel in this situation is terrible.
The sadness and pain and panic I feel in empathizing with him is agonizing.
How terrible it is to have someone you love (even fledgling love) go through this?

I can do little around him except just try to keep good spirits and try to keep him in good spirits as well. At first, though, I had a hearty cry whenever I saw him, but I stay stronger now. I try to remember that this disease does not wholly define him, though it certainly handicaps him greatly now. We just try to get through this tough trial as we can.

I try to keep a smile on around him and around my friends and family, and in some respects, it isn't too difficult because I know that it all works out in the end (philosophically, religiously, etc.). It's the optimism shining through, not necessarily of him getting better because the possibility of death is very real. It's the optimism of knowing that everything works out in the end.

But when I'm away from him or friends or family or anyone who knows me, when I'm in the midst of strangers, panic and sadness and fear grips at me. It clouds my heart, my vision unfocuses, and I just want to find somewhere quiet to sit and contemplate. It's especially hard when I walk past places that we spent time together, or of situations that remind me of him.

It can seem as though I'm self pitying myself, and maybe I am, but that doesn't mean that I fully deny myself all chances of expressing whatever emotion I feel. Moderation is key. Shutting down and saying that abject feelings are not good, are not helpful, are a waste is the other extreme of wallowing in self pity and hoarding the negativity. I feel as though I'm justifying my feelings right now, and I don't think I need to do so.

What have I felt so far? Confusion, shock, mild denial, ANGER, disbelief, grief, depression, hope, and many other emotions which are hard to name and give a face to.

I believe that he is God's hands. Whatever God wills, will happen, whether it be that he lives or dies. And I know that there is life after death, and I suspect we fear death because we are afraid of this unknown afterlife - the undiscover'd country from whose bourne no traveller has returned.
So I pray.

I pray, and I try to keep him in good spirits.
I deal with the tangle of emotions I feel through as many productive means as I need - friends, family, letters to myself, this blog, etc.

If you're reading this, you've surely figured out that my thoughts are in tangles and rambles. This is definitely not straightforward.
Life is not straightforward.
You take it as it comes, and trust that you can handle it.

* * *
I've been trying to brainstorm what I could do to cheer him up and keep him happy in whatever ways I can.

There's the obvious like visiting him. We keep in contact through the phone and email when schedules become hectic.
I've made some food for him.

I'm thinking of sending a homemade card through the old fashioned snail mail - he's a romantic, so he would appreciate that I think :)
Calling up the florist and getting some plants for him - some that are hardy and live a long life, with a bit of tending. He always did have a nurturing side to him - for easy-to-care-for plants, I'm sure of that!

What other things could I do?