A Life on Hold

Shay here with a little mind-dump.

It’s funny how some events in your life can really fill your field of vision, where everything else becomes hazy and easy to forget, while the One Thing takes center stage. You allow yourself to drop the ball–you can see yourself doing it, but it’s like a slow motion scene where you watch it drop and you don’t even try to reach out and prevent it from happening.You just kind of furrow your brow at it at it and let it go.

That’s kind of how the days have been passing in the last two months since we learned Chris’ diagnosis: not slowly, but…groggily? and without much of my own motivation moving things forward.
Actually, all things considered, I think we’re doing pretty well. We have gone out to dinner whenever Chris has felt he has the energy, we have had friends visit fairly regularly (even though we haven’t been great about inviting people, they are gently inserting themselves and we are so grateful for the company), we managed some yard work, and we made it all the way to San Jose to be there for my brother Brian’s lovely wedding. But “daily life” as we know it hasn’t been in full swing for a long time now. Chris is working from home when he can, which isn’t as often or as productive as he would like. I am trying to keep up on my work, but I feel like I am poking keys more than working. House cleaning isn’t really at the top of our list. Neither is laundry or dishes. Poor pups haven’t been getting much in the way of baths or exercise (though they are getting lots of cuddles), and video games and television have taken up much of this excess in downtime. We are just so…well, I guess tired is the only word I can think to say, but that’s not quite accurate is it? What is a word for mentally and emotionally tired? Because depressed doesn’t really sound right either. We’re not sad about things, we’re not even much worried, per se. We are just…preoccupied with this Big Thing which consumes our daily energy like a tiny vampire.

And it isn’t just the immediate day-to-day which is effected. It’s the future, too. Friends and family are inviting us to things in the coming weeks and months, and instead of being able to enthusiastically accept these invitations, I find my first reaction is, “We’ll see how Chris feels.” But if I am being truly honest, it’s not just a question of how Chris will feel; it’s that I don’t know how I will feel–be it a day, a week, a month. I don’t know if I will feel the need to be near him, or hang back at home, or catch up on work I am not getting done right now, or just be lazy, or spend time recalibrating what my real life was, is, or will be. And I find I just can’t clearly think beyond the next appointment, or the next six weeks until Chris’ chemo appointments are complete, let alone contemplate where he/I/we will be mentally and physically in the many months it will be before Chris feels himself again. It’s like a giant Pause button has been pushed, and there is this Cancer Limbo* we are hanging out in. And until we get past it, I can’t hit Play again.

So when I say, “We’ll see.” I don’t want you to think I am putting you off. It’s not that I’m not interested. It’s that I can’t find the space in my heart and mind right now to plan ahead. With the exception of keeping up with Chris’ medical appointments schedule, and some necessary commitments like teaching (which is a godsend in itself for the positivity I find among my dance family during the week), I am working one day at a time and not thinking beyond maybe a few days. I miss my life-that-was, and at the same time I feel a tremendous gratitude for the life I am living beside my husband and best friend Chris right now. Just sitting by his side while he is in the chemo chair, being able to reach out and squeeze his knee to remind him I am there loving him, chat with him, make him laugh, grab him a pillow or a cup of water…the fact that my life can be rearranged in such a way that I can even do that is such an incredible blessing.

I have a feeling that when we do get to hit that Play button, though, no more appropriate word than what is inscribed on that button could better express what we are going to do then.

*Cancer Limbo sounds like some kind of gag game they play in hospitals to cheer up the patients. “Come on, everybody CANCER LIMBO!” *cue music*