Friday, July 17, 2009

Pieces of me.

I have had the luxury of going for walks 3 mornings in a row. The first morning was exhilarating. The breeze along the beach at Koolina- fresh with the hint of plumeria in bloom. The view breathtaking as the waves crashed along the lagoon rocks. I remembered why I loved walking, it gave me time with my thoughts- to gather them, to rearrange them- create them. This is where I find clarity and happiness- I make sense of what is confusing, peace from what is infuriating.

The second morning, I walk along the familiar streets of our neighborhood. The weight in my chest, crushing my heart. I don't know why it seems so intense now- it should be getting better. I should be working through this. I am less than a half a mile from home, and my eyes are leaking. I am not crying, I am leaking. Crying is an active reponse to a stimulus- this- this is a flipping fountain. What is wrong with me? I am not sobbing- but I feel like I can't breathe- it's not the pace of my walk- it's the pieces inside my heart shuffling around to make sense and heal. It doens't matter how deeply I breathe, I can't catch my breath- but I keep walking- looking for the peace that seems to elude me. I start sorting the threads of thoughts- looking for the answer. This feeling is all too familiar. It's somewhere in the middle of what I could compare to the runner's wall. It's my emotional wall- something I am all too familiar with. The wall that flings itself up around the loss. Protecting it until I have the time to deal with it. The tears are the response to this stimulus- the collection of fear, hurt and anger of the past year. My body is letting go, despite my resolve to keep it together. This is sheer silliness. This is a good waste of alone time. Pouring about like something is wrong. I finally make my round and march through the door, right up the stairs and into my room. I take a few minutes- a few splashes of water and I am presentable. Phil knows immediately something is wrong. Damn, thought I was presentable and the faucet is on again, oh blast it to hell. And just like that I am surrounded by 3 of my favorite people in the world- in one heckuva Mallory sandwich. Phil is my rock- holding me up, if only he was the typical male oblivious to any internal struggle of mine- I might be able to hold it together- as usual-Lily wants in on the action - never one to be left out of a group hug and lil Phillip with obvious concern. Phil explains that we've had a rough year and sometimes a good cry helps to release the stress. Oh if only that were the case- you'd see me sobbing everywhere- but I have yet to find that it does anything but make my eyes sore and seriously reduces the life of my contacts.

Phil hesitantly leaves for work, throwing cautious glances at me when he thinks I don't notice. I try cleaning- but I don't feel like it- so I immerse myself in a book. I know at some point I will have to come up with a good reason why I sprung a leak- but I honestly don't have one. I wasn't thinking about anything. I haven't had much alone time to think- the few afternoons I've had to myself- I have kept so busy that I didn't have time to think. Perhaps it's the cumulative effect of all the times the past year I have tucked away feelings because there wasn't time to deal and now they have started to come out of hiding. I wish I could feel like it was over. Phil feels it too. Fortunately it brings us together rather than drive us apart. After all these years- he amazes me by accepting my wackiness- and part of me thinks he actually LIKES it. It also makes my wacky feelings feel less crazy when I realize he feels the same way- it makes them real- less imagined. It makes me wonder how anyone would be willing to settle for less than their soulmate . I wonder if it is because people value different things. I can't imagine not having someone by my side who didn't understand completely- I am so lucky in that way.

Day 3, I am handed his Ipod set to a playlist with upbeat music- and the instructions to not think. Perhaps that is best for now. I make it through the walk with out a single tear. Really the thinking isn't the problem as much as the feeling. The feeling that something is wrong, the waiting for the confirmation. Realism says go about your business, no sense in worrying- but intuition is just that- not so much controllable. I could pretend we are normal- but right now that takes too much effort. I know eventually it will be so second nature that we may actually feel normal again- but for now it just feels like work. I don't feel like cleaning. I don't feel like doing anything. I feel like I should be doing something, I have no excuse now. Other than the constant mood swings and the emotional wreckage- I have no excuse. Yet I am tired. To my core. Tired of explaining that yes chemo is over, but no we don't use the word cured at this stage- we have to get through a year's worth of scans first. Some don't say cured for 5 years. But we are still left with the remnants of the storm. I am grateful for my sisters in battle who confirm the phenomenon- that we are not alone in our feelings- they feel it too. The exhaustion, the guarded hope, the constant worry. And every night, I do my rounds. I stop and pause to watch them all peacefully sleeping. I wonder at how they have changed my life in such a short amount of time- how I can't imagine ever loving anyone more than I do them. I miss the innocence, the easier times and try to keep the illusion of childhood alive for them. I know it will get easier. I am eternally hopeful. In their own ways- each one of them has given me gifts I would never physically hold and therefore would not and could not ever lose. They are my life.

I have written many entries, never published. Some things are just too personal. It is what it is. I am not fishing for a barrage of concerned emails and calls- I am safe within my walls. I am letting you know that when you see the scars of cancer, there are much deeper emotional scars that take longer to heal. I don't want to dwell, but I can't pretend it's not there. We are forever changed, and not always in the best way.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing, and it seems not the least bit "wacky" to me that in the calm following the storm, all that has been restrained comes undone. As for that ol' softy of a husband--he is a precious soul, and you are both fortunate to have each other. You make an incredible team (and really superb friends). Love you.


Lily Kay Monkey

Lily Kay Monkey
November 2008 Photographed by Shelley Detton (7 Layer Studio)