Now that I’ve had approximately 29 hours and forty-six minutes to process all that’s happened (but who’s counting, right?), my numbness has faded and a deeply-rooted, bone-chilling fear has taken its place.
Actually, it’s multiple fears that have raised their ugly little heads, and I’m not sure there are any reassurances for any of them. The primary one that bedevils me, of course, is that Will is going to suffer horribly, if not from the growing cancer, then from the measures being taken to slow its progress. I can hardly bear the thought of this gentle, loving man being in the kind of pain I’ve seen in other cancer patients; I don’t want to see him spend his last few months throwing up and feeling like death warmed over.
On the other hand, I’m also afraid he’ll die before we’ve had time to figure out what to do about his vast collection of models and tools, how to downsize (because I am NOT going to rattle around this huge house by myself), what he wants as far as a funeral. All stuff neither of us wants to talk about…….but we must, even though he still hasn’t really absorbed the gravity of his condition. I HATE doing that to him.
And I know this sounds completely selfish, but I’m terrified of living by myself. I haven’t done so since I was 20 and too dumb to understand the dangers of being a woman alone in the world. It’s not that I don’t like my own company—there were times during the years our kids were growing up that I would have killed for a full day of “me” time—or that I can’t find ways to entertain myself. But being alone all the time? Coming home to an empty house every night? Not even having a reason to put up the Christmas lights?
I’m also scared of not having a caregiver for those times when my illness is out of control—nobody to remind me to take my meds, to let me know that I’m going too high without pissing me off…..or to keep me safe when I want to gulp down the contents of every pill bottle in my medicine cabinet.
But what I’m most frightened of when it comes to myself is that I won’t be equal to the task of getting along in the world on my own. I have great faith in God, but He won’t be with me in a tangible way, like the strong arms that hold me tight when I’m sad, or the reassuring touch of a big ol’ bear paw with a size 14 wedding ring. I need to be able to feel and hear and see, and the loss of these sensory experiences is something I don’t think I’ll ever get over. I’ve come to depend on them so much. In all our 33 years together it has never once occurred to me that one day I would have to do without them, and now that I’m facing the near-certainty, I am scared to death.
In the meantime, I’m going to look at Will every time I can (hopefully without creeping him out), take every opportunity to touch, kiss, and hug him…..and keep these fears as far away from him as I can. (Thank goodness he doesn’t read my blog or use Facebook.) It’s all I can do for him at this point.