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October 2009

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     One of the ways I try to cope with my present situation is to think of it as an adventure.  Something difficult that I've never done before; a valuable learning experience; an opportunity for personal growth.  It doesn't have to be a soul-killing tragedy, no matter how painful an experience it may be.  It can be a really harrowing chapter in the fascinating story of my life.  I try to detach and distance myself a little, when I can.  Not always possible.  Sometimes there's nothing to do but keen and howl like a banshee.
    So much of him is already lost to me.  He's shrunken, faded, fragile. He doesn't respond to me anymore.  I will often lean down and kiss him as I pass by--he doesn't even look at me.  I have to ask him for hugs, and when he does, he's careful and stiff and weak.  This is not my husband.  If we can't improve his energy and quality of life, I don't know how much of this I can take.  Not to mention what it must be like for him.  If all the chemo is going to do is keep him from getting any worse, and this is as good as it gets, I don't think we're going to prolong this beyond what we need to get Jay's affairs in order and say our goodbyes.  This is no kind of life for him--he's miserable, he takes no pleasure or comfort in anything, even me.  And we haven't even gotten into the pain part yet.  Some very cold, calculating part of me is wondering if we should take him off the IV feeding before it starts to hurt.  Just let him fade out as gently and swiftly as possible, before things get really ugly.
     I mean, if I or anyone I've spoken to thought there was any reasonable chance that we might beat this thing, I would fight to the bitter end.  But if all we're buying him is time, and the time is unpleasant & likely to become more so, there is a large piece of me that says if I'm going to lose him anyway, let's get it over with.  Sure, I want more time with him--but the him I want to be with is already gone.  And at some point I won't be doing him any favors holding on to him.
     I wish I knew if he believes as strongly as I do that this is not the end.  I've tried to tell him about my own personal spirits, and the sense I have that he & I will meet again & in many ways will always be together.  Not physically, maybe, not in this lifetime, but in better, stronger, more important ways.  And again, in future lives.  I hope he is not afraid to die.  I guess I should ask him.  He used to be a Christian, before his ex-wife turned his church against him.  I've got him partially converted to paganism, but I imagine he believes in Heaven more than reincarnation.  If that.  I don't know.  He's pretty dark sometimes.  A recovering Catholic--you know how that can be.
     I'm just trying to hold myself together here, put one foot in front of the other and take the best care of him I can, a day or an hour or a minute at a time.  It might seem like a nightmare, but it's really an adventure.  I will keep telling myself that.