Cancer, Journal, Myself, Preeti

Robo Husband AKA Running Diary on Days 3,4,5,6

Cover of "Robocop"
Cover of Robocop

 

By Jemal Yarbrough

 

Today was one of her good days, and the old beautiful smile of hers returned as well as the desire to put something of substance in her stomach instead of my constant pleas to eat.  I also learned that the fear of the many horrors they told us about had not manifested yet, and I thanked God for the break in schedule.  Instead of a full week full of anxiety dreading the side effects, we got a small dosage of what was to come, and for that I am thankful.

I have much to learn that much I realize now and accept.  While a chance comment from one of her dear friends that I was a “robo husband” hurt my feelings for a second, the reality was that it hurt because it was true.  I am constantly struggling between being a caregiver rather than a caretaker.  I know for her what’s more important is not someone who can attend to all her physical needs but someone who can replenish her with love and care (a gentle reminder from another good friend of hers).

I am not going to lie, that’s exactly what I am scared of.  Between constantly wanting her to be comfortable and trying to provide her all the comforts of the world, I am worried I am not up to the task, that what I am doing is hollow and meaningless.  This is no longer someone who is sick, but my wife and we are going to spend the rest of our lives together.  What scares me is not knowing what will happen, and when the side effects will take form and then it hits me that I am again failing to be in the NOW.  I cannot control what she will go through nor can I stop the process.  And then it hits me that I have to be full myself before I can empty myself into her.  I need to do what makes me, ME or I will just remain a caretaker.

I know she knows that I love her deeply but the reality is I need to show it more than just feeding her medications at the right time or filling the fridge with her favorites.  I have to stop being robotic or worse just a caretaker.  I also see now that is how I am dealing with her pain, by compartmentalizing her into a schedule which does not allow for her to express her emotional pain and frustration.  I have to let her have the slice of pizza without the admonition to not put red peppers on it or take her medication as I scheduled.  I just have to let her be, let her get it out, whatever she is feeling because the cancer is not just physical, it’s also taken over her mind.  I cannot be a Robocop, not allowing her to go through all the motions she needs to in order to get a grasp of what has happened to her.

As I struggled with my guilt, I received a wonderful email from a stranger who encouraged me to go on, to keep on writing to figure out what we are going through and suddenly that one page email reminded me that I have all the tools to make her get through this and that is through friends, family but most importantly me (as self-important as that sounds).

And so a week ends, and we begin anew again tomorrow.  I think I know what I must do, and for now that is enough.

To the nameless friends and strangers who gave me the idea for this post: Thank You.

Journal, Myself

Life Goals

A white Lamborghini Concept S in the Lamborghi...
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The Lone Soldier by Jemal Y

There I stand stoically ready to face the  world,mute but  capable, deaf but open to the world.  Many of my dreams sacrificed to the dullness of meaningless days.   Future goals set aside for empty gratification, my life resembled nothing like I  imagined it would.  No longer.

Yesterday, I ran across an old document titled 101 Life Goals.  Curious, I opened it up and it was something I had written EXACTLY one year ago.  I wont bore you with all 101 but the top ten were:

1)     Publish a Memoir

2)     Get Married (for the last time!)

3)     Get an MBA

4)     Have Kids (2-3)

5)     Become an accomplished General Counsel

6)     Get a Lamborghini

7)     Publish Fiction

8)     Have a great library

9)     Become a Gourmet Chef

10) Travel the World

The 2 that stood out to me right away (besides the Lamborghini) were about publishing fiction and my memoir.  I am proud to say that I have started those 2 life goals, and for once I had written something that wouldn’t just be a mute witness to my aimless wandering.  No longer would my passion be a lone soldier in the battlefield of dreams.  I was finally on a mission that made sense and made me feel that for once I wasnt a slave to words that just burst out of me for no reason, but the master of my life. 

That wasnt the only thing to celebrate, I was also closer to other goals as well (including marriage, the library, and the kids) yet it was telling that I had done nothing to become a gourmet chef.  I love to cook but I hardly ever do it anymore, and the tons of dust-covered books in my kitchen are telling me that perhaps that’s a goal I will get to when I get to the ones I really want to achieve. 

I had also changed on life goal, from becoming a MBA to doing my MFA (Masters in Fine Arts) with an emphasis on creative writing.  Nothing like reading something from your past to know that for once your on track. 

No longer a lone soldier but a fighter for the things that matter most.