Chemo should be a four-letter word

To watch someone you love go through the horror that is chemo is a torment all it’s own. It is like watching from a distance while the person you love is mercilessly tortured, and you can’t do a thing to stop it.

Suddenly you realize why people wear ‘fuck cancer’ t-shirts to drop their children off at school and smile as they go.  Because you know what, fuck cancer.

I did all I could to brace myself for what was coming, I knew it was going to knock her down and everyone she loves with her.

It did.

But there’s not enough preparation in the world to ready someone for this.  You’re never ready to watch your mom cry by the toilet as she dry-heaves for hours.  Never strong enough to keep your heart from breaking when she says it’s so painful she just wishes she could let go and not go through this.  There’s nothing to prepare you to watch her age 20 years overnight or wait for her hair to fall off while she tries to smile.

The truth is, I wasn’t ready. I couldn’t have been.

Mom has always been physically strong.  I could count on my right hand the number of times I’ve actually seen her sick in the past 30 years.  She’s a tough cookie, and not much knocks her down…..but this has.  And I don’t know what to do with that.

I don’t know how to do this….how does anyone?  I’ve cried myself to sleep,  begged God to offer relief and keep her safe.  I’ve taken her every good thing I can think of for comfort, and any food that she thinks she might keep down.  Since yesterday I have been running a high fever myself, which has kept me from having any contact with her for fear of giving her whatever I have.

This morning I left what I could on her front porch, and watched from behind my car window as her frail body slowly picked it up and waved back at me. I couldn’t hug her or tell it was going to be ok.  We were only 30 yards apart from each-other, but it felt so much farther. I never want to have to do that again. Ever.

If you’ve been through this, my friend, God bless you and the one you love.  May you find comfort down the road.  I hope to find it there too.






Behind the Red Herring

I’ve always had this sixth sense, ever since I can remember.  It’s allowed me to see through people in ways I can’t explain and often don’t really try. The good, the bad, and all the in-between in people has often been clearer to me than what my eyes can tell me.  True intentions, ulterior motives, kindness of spirit, sadness, joy, suffering, peace, strength, danger, false fronts, deep souls, and even those about to leave this earth.  I see them.

I learned to trust it a long time ago, and trust it deeply.    Most of the time I am grateful for this part of me, it has served me well and armed me with deep understanding of people.

But there are days like today when I wish I didn’t know the things I know.  That sort of knowledge can bring such sadness when you see truth in someone you wish you hadn’t.  When you know things you can’t explain but fully understand inside yourself.  Things that make you just want to shut your eyes, but when you do you see it all even clearer.

There are times I know something is going to happen before it does.  I can’t explain how, I just know it’s often played out that way.  It’s beyond being an empath to seeing an entirely different realm of life occurring all around you simultaneously in people.  When I go out I don’t notice the type of shoes someone is wearing or their hairstyle, I see souls and whatever they are made of staring right back at me.

Today my heart is tired and I want to hide from the world.  I am struggling, and am fighting what I’ve always fought- the urge to run away from the world and the things I see in it.  I am fighting to not drown in the ghost of souls hiding beyond the shells of faces and smiles and distortion.

I rarely speak of any of this, as so few understand it.  But today, today I just can’t.

Friends that know me well have often joked that I must have been a dog or some similar type creature in another life, so easy it is for me to communicate with animals and understand them.  I guess there is something to that,  I do see the world around me much like a dog does.  I sense things before I see them, and I trust that instinct much more than what I am told to see.  You cannot fool a dog into believing a man is good when he is evil. The dog knows, no matter how you dress him up, or how the man may smile and charm those around him.

But it’s the days you see what you would have rather been blind to that are hard.  It’s the times you pass by a suffering soul and feel like your heart just dropped as their spirit of grief washes over you. It’s those moments when you know someone is close to the other side and their soul peers into your’s with questions you cannot answer.  And it’s those days when you see something about someone you love that you cannot ignore and that you wish you hadn’t ever witnessed. It all makes life so much more complicated, and today my soul is weary.

Most days I would not complain.  It’s made my life richer, my soul deeper, and my heart larger.  It is a significant part of me that most of the time I am glad to have. But it can be isolating and heavy,  a burden I don’t aways want to carry.  Sometimes understanding is harder than they say it is, and sometimes I’d rather just see the smile and not what lies behind it.