The stark fear of cancer

I can hold my shit together at least 90 percent of the time. I’m strong and reasonably positive. But then I have a day (usually in the hormone-fogged throes of PMS) when it all falls apart.

Yesterday it was when I went with my middle son to the bank to deposit his lawsuit checks and open investment accounts. He named me as the primary beneficiary if anything should happen to him. Part of that was because I was the one who was there.

But the other part that hung over us like a shadow that we didn’t mention is that it’s more of a certainty that I’ll be around than that my husband will. Given my health history, that still surprises me sometimes.

It also occurred to me that we just bought my husband the first nice car that he picked out for himself and it may be the last. That makes it all the more important that he has it. But it also reminds me that his time is more finite than I ever thought it would be.

Even if he beats cancer now (which I think he will), it’s still likely to be the cause of his death, if it’s in 10 or even 20 years.

The fact remains that we are probably not going to grow old together. And that thought just makes me cry and cry, until snot runs down my face and it’s hard to breathe.

He has been such a good man to me. I think about his bravery in confronting his own demons and how that made him a better husband. I think about all our inside jokes and our easy communication. I think about little things, like when I wanted pecan pie for Thanksgiving and he got up early the next morning to make it for me, surprising me in bed with a slice.

I know that he’s irreplaceable and that’s why the thought of losing him hurts so much. I’ll probably be alone for the rest of my life whenever his time is up.

Dammit, this is not what I planned for my life. But I’m sure it’s not what he planned for his life, either.

He has his faith that takes away a lot of the fear. I don’t have that. Not only is it likely that I’ll have to suffer but that I’ll have to learn how to go on without him.

I know he’s suffering much more than I am so I feel guilty for even indulging the fear. Most of the time, I can keep it away. But sometimes it sneaks back in anyway. And I have been loved so much better than I feel I deserve. All I can do is try to make him feel just as loved.

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