I can’t help but worry

I worry a lot. That’s why my husband gave me the nickname of “little bird,” originally from the Bible verse Matthew 6:26: “Look at the birds of the air: they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, yet the heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not more valuable than they?”

These days, the fact that it’s from a Bible verse means relatively little to me. Yet it inspired my largest tattoo to date: a large piece on the inside of my left arm with birds, which reads “lucky little bird.” The term of endearment “little bird” has great meaning to me, not least because it’s what he calls me. It makes me feel safe.

Yet right now, safety isn’t what I’m feeling at all. He starts back to chemo on Friday after a 3-month break, which is stirring up all kinds of uncomfortable worries for me. Did his cancer progress during the time off chemo? How will he react to it, especially since this will be his first treatment since starting a stressful new job? Is the stress from the Very Important Job taking a negative toll on his health?

It doesn’t help that the world itself feels like a very scary and unsafe place in general right now, between Covid-19 and racial protests. I just want nothing more than to break down and cry, but I can’t.

We just celebrated our 26th anniversary about two weeks ago and I can’t help but wonder how many we have left together. He also passed the one-year mark since his diagnosis a little over a month ago. But instead of looking at it like yay, he survived, I’m also hearing that tick-tock of the clock counting down to his low odds for surviving to five years. If one year passed this quickly, how fast will the next years go?

I still hold a lot of hope that he’ll beat the odds, that he’ll make it beyond the five-year mark. But whether he makes it 10 more years or only three, the incontrovertible fact is that our lives together are limited. I’m going to have to learn to live without the person who understands me the best, who makes me feel safe. And I can’t help but to think about that and worry.

This wasn’t supposed to happen. Not when he finally got a good job and our lives started looking up, when we had both finally grown up together enough to really appreciate each other. But sometimes life is cruel and ironic that way.

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