Cancer, Myself, Preeti

Almost There

by Jemal Yarbrough

The mural next to these words marks a strong contrast to the real world facing me outside: grey, dreary, drizzling enough so even the dog doesn’t want to go around and sniff aimlessly. Just paid all the bills and miraculously have exactly 11 cents to my name, well to our names to be precise, so I have plenty to frown about, but I am not.  In fact, seems nothing can get me down.

The heart is light, can’t stop smiling, and looking forward to the week ahead. It’s funny how certain things don’t matter as much when so much has happened.  Friends who you cared about deeply barely a bleep, strangers who you ignored now dear acquaintances, but you know over all, that you matter a lot to many out there, and that’s enough.   Each one in our lives contributed the way they could, or better yet the way they were meant to.  This was our battle, and they were just the small break shops that give you water and food so you have the strength to keep going.  Blaming those for not running with you was not only realistic but completely unfair.  True, the damage is done but I know my friends, they will bounce back since those who know me well know that I hold no ill will.  More like, it was a cry for help but I managed to push some away and for that I will always be sorry.  The choice to continue is really up to them because although I am sorry, I am not going to be a slave to regret for the rest of my life.

I finished my first short story in years, and while I am tempted to share it here, I know it still needs to be tightened up more.  Who knew in the whirling days of chemo and radiation, an idea would be born. On this dreary day, my heart shines, smiling at the thought of her being almost done.  Nothing else matters really.  All the old accusations, decisions, bad thoughts, put away to stand clear for the finish line.  Who knew that in a matter of weeks, we will put this saga behind us and while the results are not 100%, they are good enough for me. Can/t worry about what’s not there or has not happened.  Actually, that’s not true. It is 1005 over in a week, and what will come next, I cannot worry about.  For now, I have her to love fully, full-time, and always. Also  my dear friends and family who are always there.  We are almost there, thank you for coming along this bumpy ride.  Hope I didn’t scar you too much. 🙂

Cancer, Myself, Preeti, Writing


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Last night was the first time I laid down to bed with a heavy heart not because of her because I already had failed at my promise to post every day.  Although I tried to intellectualize it by claiming I wrote the post in my mind, I could not get past that feeling to not  write is something I can no longer accept.  Actually, I started the post with a bit of a  lie because my soul was heavy because once again the word “Caretaker” had been flung at me, and once again I was made to feel that nothing I do was good enough.  While others were thanked for their time, I was derided for stuffing medicines down her throat and leaving her in a dark room. After more than 2 days feeling like I was at fault, I realized she was right.  In my effort to control the disease by making her as physically comfortable as possible, I had lost sight that a hug could more than Zofran, Ativan or Compazine could ever do.  The problem really was my reluctance between comforting her with medications versus just laying down with her.

The truth is I am scared to see her so uncomfortable and instead of asking the easy question of “Are you Ok?”, I inevitably ask “Do you need medicine?”  I am substituting science for compassion, and I see now that the medicine really is more for me than for her. It is the only way I feel like I can fight the effects of Chemotherapy, but it’s not working.  If I was really honest with myself, she is doing extremely well considering the toxins in her body, and actually handling everything quite well.  I just keep expecting things to get worse  and at the first sign of a grimace, I use the medicine bottles as a shield.

The part that hurts most is the ease with which she thanks others for their care and concern, while I stand across a seemingly un-crossable divide of being the help.  I thought I could be a caregiver, a husband but instead in my fear and haste to make her feel better. I relegated myself to the realm of servitude rather than gratitude.