Oh, hello! Help yourself to some hot wings and fries. Good stuff.
I had to force myself to not do the ugly cry tonight.
Almost three years ago, Madam X started to not feel well. We didn’t know what was going on, but she kept getting worse. She was tired all the time, her spleen was enlarged, her mental faculties were diminishing. She was gray. There’s no other way to accurately describe how she looked.
After six months or so of living like this and slowly deteriorating, Madam X was taken into the hospital emergency room. Her spleen was of a size that warranted immediate surgery. Since so much blood had been diverted to her spleen, she wasn’t able to think clearly. That explained her inability to think clearly and remember things and walk more than a block without needing to sit down. While they were in there, digging around, they found out that Madam X has cancer. Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.
During that time, Madam X and Mister Y were in the process of selling the house in which they had lived for more than 40 years. They were moving into a smaller house that was newer and more manageable. There was a lot going on. Madam X was going through chemo, moving,. Everyone was completely stressed. Luckily, the cancer was caught early enough that radiation wasn’t needed in addition to the chemo. We were all really hopeful.
After the chemo, Madam X went into remission. She recovered slowly, but we were convinced that it was a blip on the radar. Every checkup seemed to be a reaffirmation of this, as the blood tests showed that all counts were good and this vile disease was being defeated.
This past summer, Madam X started to not feel good again. She was tired all the time. She didn’t want to go to the doctor until her regularly scheduled checkup, despite me begging her to do so. I think she knew, better than anyone, what the results were going to be. I should have known. So, in September, when she should have found out that, yet again, she was clear, she instead found out that the cancer is back.
Her doctor seemed to be optimistic and encouraging. Chemo was scheduled for every three weeks for 6 courses. The doctor said this was going to take care of it. I’ve been watching Madam X during all of this and I see that she’s not recovering as well this time. She remains tired all the time. She is certainly not bouncing back as quickly. I can feel my heart breaking.
Thanksgiving is coming up. Madam X does not want to, or can’t, do such an event. Her daughter suggested that we all go out for dinner instead. But even that seems like too much for Madam X. The last time I spoke with her daughter, she callously shot off a “She probably won’t be alive for it next year, so we should do something.”
(Pausing for the ugly cry now…. brb…)
So ever since, that statement has been on my mind. I asked Madam X’s son if he thought that statement was accurate too. He said that he didn’t think it would be that soon, but that it was coming. Hence, the ugly cry.
I love Madam X more than anyone else on the planet. She has been there for me through everything – good, bad, or indifferent. She has been an inspiration. She has been my cheerleader, my leveler, my hero, and my friend.
I know that, at 42, I am of an age where people in my life will be getting sick and/or dying. But in this situation, I feel like I am 12. I should be mature enough to handle this. Of course I will be sad. Of course it will hurt. But do I need to have a complete meltdown at just the THOUGHT of this person not being in my life? People die all the time, and their loved ones go on. They go on with life, with love, with living. They don’t lose their sh*t.
I don’t want to hurry this process along, but how am I going to deal with this brilliant, lovely, loving woman not being in my life? I need to find a way to hold it together the next time I see her, the next time we get together for breakfast. I mean, if I am this much of a mess as a result of some off-hand, snotty remark by Madam X’s daughter, what will I do when the real thing happens?
I am angry and sad and I know that it is completely unfair that this woman is sick. She has worked hard her entire life. She has given everything to her family and her children. She never asks for anything in return. She is kind, and loving, and sweet, and (normally) full of life.
Tonight, this is my struggle. This is my challenge. This is my reason for sobbing.
Madam X deserves better. She deserves to reach the end of her life surrounded by joy and beauty and love. She doesn’t deserve to have this horrible disease get the best of her.
Madam X, I love you and I want you to get better. And if fate is cruel and doesn’t allow that to happen, I want you to know that you will be with me forever – as a constant reminder of how to live, as a good and true person. I can only hope to, one day, be a fraction of the woman you are.