Monday, July 5, 2010

D Day Minus 197 (August 23, 2009): Guilt, Fear, and Control

I only asked, "Is Katie going to treatment with you tomorrow?" when I called to tell you that Dad and I were leaving Bassett around 5. And you went from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde. 

“Mom, I’m a big boy and I’ll figure it out.”  Your voice elevated. “Besides Katie is supposed to work all night and she needs to rest.  I can’t expect Katie to rearrange everything for me.  She’s only been at this job for few months.”

“I know that Greg. I know you’re going to be fine. But, I don’t want you have to drive if you are feeling sick. Mostly, I don’t want you to be alone through any of this.” I bit my lip and my stomach felt all tied up in knots.  “It wouldn’t be such a big deal, but I have a meeting in the morning that I really should be at. I’m flexible the rest of the week, just not Monday morning.  I could drop you off, then come right back after my meeting. Or I could ask Dad to go.”

“Mom!” You probably clenched your jaw when you said my name.  I know I held my breath.  “I drove myself to treatment when I was on Interferon. I did fine and it was much worse than this.”

“I know that.” I said emphasizing “know.” You went through the day-to-day Interferon treatment mostly by yourself.  But, you were a newlywed.  I wanted to give you space and didn’t want to intrude. The last thing you needed was me hovering around to complicate things.

Do you remember just before you were diagnosed? You declared your independence and that you didn’t need anyone’s approval (even mine).  The only thing that mattered was what you and your soon-to-be wife thought.  You said you loved me --- but this was your life.  I got that! So I walked the tightrope of letting go and holding on from your initial diagnosis until your marriage ended. 

 I remember the day it ended like it was yesterday. It was a little over a week after you returned from Houston.  You were finally home after weeks of recuperating from surgery because the cancer perforated your bowel.  You were septic! You almost died! You said, “We want different things. She wants to be single and twenty-one. I want a wife and a family.”  My heart broke for you. But you said, “It was for the best.”  And it was. You wished her well and looked forward to so many possibilities and second chances. Remember, how you told me there's nothing like almost dying to get a really good perspective and appreciation of life.
“I want to be there for me as much as I want to be there for you, Greg.”  I forced myself not to cry or show any fear. “I just feel better being with you. And knowing and seeing exactly what is going on.  It’s harder to not go with you than it is to go. I don’t ever want you to be alone again.”

 “You can come every day if you’d like.  You’re my mom.  You don’t need an invitation.”  You said, softening your tone.

“I would like to be there every day. But as long as I know you are surrounded by positive juju, I’ll be fine.” I smiled. “Besides, I know I have to share.  You have an entourage.”

Call waiting beeped.  It was Katie, so you took the call.  Five minutes later, you called me back and said, “Katie can take me, so we’re good.” And Dr. Jekyll was back as quickly as he left. 

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