Topic: Grieving for myself, mending fences

If it were any other subject I would call it a good old fashioned "pity party" but it goes much deeper than that.

I guess I am just now dealing with the reality of it all.  I have been so busy worrying about how others were going to be able to handle my illness and dying that I haven't stopped to think about my own.  The last few nights I have gone into absolute hysterical fits of sobbing, no one around, nor do I want anyone around me.  This morning was set off by reading the Home Depot insert in yesterday's paper, no more remodeling for me!  I was reading about a high school athletic team and thought about my incredibly gifted son and the sky box I won't have.....well, not THAT kind of sky box.....I miss him so much already and he is napping on my bed across the hall!

Saturday I was writing in my journal and had to stop........

This week I found out that the pastor of my former parish has learned he most likely has pancreatic cancer.  The man has been ill with various ailments for years and almost seemed relieved that it wasn't something he was going to have to fight, he was just going to let nature take its course.  He and I had had a falling out a couple of years ago over the closing of my son's school and I hadn't been back to that church since, yet something told me I had to reach out to him.  So, I went, and during Mass I went into what my friends call "Commander Mode".  I told him that I wasn't sure why I needed to reach out, but that if he needed someone to share experiences I was there.  I told him that it was a blessing and a curse to be a patient and a nurse, but if he needed help with the "big words" I was there to help.  I told him that I needed to wipe away the bitterness and anger, and remember the kindnesses, such as when he spoke Spanish during my son's baptism (he was 5 and didn't speak English).  And, being the practical person I gave him one of my treasured Eucerin Calming Creme tubes (oh so great for the itching that comes with liver failure) and other stuff that I had in my "cancer purse". 

Toward the end of Mass when he was making his announcements and telling everyone about his illness I completely and utterly fell apart, for him, for us, for me, for everyone.  I don't think I've ever cried that hard in my life, then again, I've never been diagnosed with a terminal disease before either...;)

I did go up to him and we made our peace, my mother had told him my news the night before, so he said "I understand we will be running a race to the pearly gates!"

Does the crying ever stop?

Re: Grieving for myself, mending fences

I'm so glad that you're writing these feelings down for us - hopefully it helps YOU, but even if it doesn't, it's so helpful to those of us who have lost a loved one. My mother was very depressed about her diagnosis but never wanted to discuss it too much - after all, I'm still her daughter, and I know she spent most of her time worrying about me and my sister and she didn't want to upset us.  Although I'm supposedly all grown up at age 41 with a child of my own, she understood that I'm still just a baby - I was so attached to her - she was/is my best friend. So it helps to see things from the point of view of the patient, since we as survivors all wonder "what were they thinking?" and so many of us don't have any clues and it torments us.

I know you are terribly worried about your son, so maybe the point of view of people like me can help you to understand him, too. Though he's very young, I'm sure he would love to read your thoughts at a later date - so maybe you should continue with that journal, or write one just for him. You are putting up a courageous fight and I know he's proud of you. He'll be grateful for any letters/films you put aside for him so he can be close to you. Sorry to be morbid here.

It's great that you patched things up with the pastor - it's great that you're mending fences, when so many people just turn bitter. I know you're a pretty "together" person from what you've written, but even the most logical and rational person is thrown for a loop when confronted with a dread disease. I think it was way past time for you to have some heavy waterworks and cry your eyes out - you deserve it and you need it! You've probably already considered all this, but maybe a support group would help - though I think of this site as a support group, it may help to see people in person and share your thoughts. No one can go through this alone, and sometimes the people you love the most are the people you don't want to confide in -- I'm sure you can't confide everything to your son!

Here's hoping for all the best for you! Hugs and love going your way,

-Joyce

Re: Grieving for myself, mending fences

My husband of 45 years passed away Aug.27, 2007, on his 64th birthday.  He was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather.  He put up a good fight, but ultimately lost the battle.  He was diagnosed, Jan. 2007.  In hind sight, I would have tried hard to dissuade him from having chemo because I think he would have had more quality time.  The chemo affected his taste buds so everything tasted nasty to him and also caused severe anemia.  He literally starved to death because he could not pallate most food.  As most of you know this is a horrific disease to have to watch a loved one die of and my heart goes out to all of you who either have it or have a loved one with it. 
I am comforted by my faith and know that he is in a much better place and is no longer in pain or suffering.  We have wonderful children who are also a comfort to me.  I have a whole jumble of emotions right now and I am sure in time that all will be well.  I pray for strength to make it one day at a time.
LD

Re: Grieving for myself, mending fences

Joyce, thank you so much for your kind words, your posts always hold some meaning for me whether they are addressed directly to me or to others.  I have thought of a support group and am looking into it.  One thing about my crying jags is that they have been almost cathartic.  Don't you sometimes just want to scream without anyone around feeling sorry for you or looking uncomfortable?  I have a dear friend who is the rock of ages, we all know the kind, if there is a problem, she will fix it, the go to person, the organizer.  I finally had to hug her and say, "Christine, this is a problem you CAN'T fix".  Sometimes I don't want comfort, I just want to scream and break things!

Ah, there would be an idea for a support group, old cars, sledge hammers........hmmm

Re: Grieving for myself, mending fences

LD, dwell on the past pleasures, not the past heartbreaks, the gee I wish I could have, etc.  My son and I pray each night "Every day is a blessing".  Every day God gave your husband with you and your children was a blessing, good food or no good food.  I have no appetite, but that was even before the chemo started.  God bless you and your children....

Re: Grieving for myself, mending fences

Cdr,
Exactly!!! Go out and smash things - it may make you feel better for a while! I know I get the urge to break everything in sight, and it was especially bad right after my mother died -- I just wished EVERYONE was dead!! Those strong hostile feelings are so surprising to someone who is pretty laid-back like me, but it gives me much better insight into the tantrums my 4 year old has!

The person who has helped me the most is my best friend, who also hates people who "have all the answers" and try to fix things -- some things just can't be fixed. Her father died last year on Father's Day, so she's right there with me and we just rant and rave and cry together. It's great to have an anger partner! And if people think you're strange for acting out, well, that's THEIR problem, right?

Maybe popping some bubble wrap would help??? Just thinking of ways to let off steam without getting arrested.

-Joyce

Re: Grieving for myself, mending fences

This reminds me of a fundraiser we had when I was in college.  We bought a junker car and charged folks $1 a whack with a sledgehammer.  Might be a better approach than racing for a cure?

8 (edited by ukmember Fri, 28 Sep 2007 02:09:30)

Re: Grieving for myself, mending fences

hi cdr
I have nothing to say that can help you except to say that I read your post and think of you and your son throughout the day.
I think that most of the posters on this forum are carers rather than sufferers and we seldom get an sight into what torment those who have this illness endure.
I often think of my husband who never spoke about his feelings and I ask myself what it was like for him. Sometimes I try to imagine that I myself had a life threatening illness but I always end up in the same place -- telling myself that unless it's 'real' that it is literally unimaginable.
I admire your humour which comes out in your posts but I am aware that it is a veneer over the anguish you must be experiencing for yourself and especially for your son.
I can't know what you are going through but I hope that you find even more strength and humour to help you.
Patricia