Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Daddies Don't Know Everything

This probably comes as no shock to some of you, but I have not always been so modest. When my oldest son, Jeremy, was six or seven years old, I was taking him to a Saturday afternoon movie that he really, really wanted to see. After all this time I cannot recall what the movie was but it was probably "The Muppet Movie" or "Robin Hood".  We left for the theater in plenty of time, but Jeremy was worried that we would be late and miss the first part. He kept asking for reassurance that we would be on time and I kept repeating, "Yes, we will be in plenty of time." Finally he gave a contented sigh and said, "Daddies know everything, don't they?" "Yes!" I replied. "And I am never going to let you forget that you said that." 

Over the years, particularly in Jeremy's teenage years, I repeatedly reminded him of the "truth" that he had accepted so long ago that "Daddies know everything". Unfortunately he learned all too soon, or at least came to believe, that daddies DON'T know everything. The phrase came to be a joke between us which one or the other of us would quote, depending on the circumstances. Some of the teenage years were hard ones for Jeremy and me. Over the years, Jeremy would often call me for advice. And I would often yell at him when he forgot to ask or didn't accept my advice. But we got through those years with our love and respect for each other intact.

My disease has been very upsetting for Jeremy because he likes certainty, and, like all of us, he doesn't want to accept possible bad outcomes.  In talking with Jeremy about my condition, its progress and prognosis, I have tried to reassure him by telling him that he is going to be all right, even without my badgering him about what he should or should not be doing. In fact, I KNOW that, just as sure as I knew we were going to get to the movie on time. Jeremy is well equipped with a superbright mind, a loving heart, a willingness to work harder than anyone else, and a supportive wife. 

I have told Jeremy, and I firmly believe this:  Much of success in life is simply showing up on time and working hard. He will be all right. I have repeated that phrase to Jeremy many times and he has finally come to the place where he can say with a smile, "I know you're right, because daddies know everything."

Friday, January 01, 2016

January 1,2016

January 1, 2016

Here it is, the first day of 2016. There was a time, not too long ago, when I thought I would never see this day. But here I am. Dictating a blog post to Rosalee.

What do I have to look forward to on the first day of 2016? My brother Dannie and my sister-in-law Barb are bringing over some of their traditional pork and sauerkraut for New Year's Day. One thing I can still do competently and enthusiastically is eat; contrary to experiences of many people in chemotherapy, I have maintained a healthy appetite and enjoy, no, love eating. And even better, I haven't gained weight as a result of all that eating; in fact I've lost over 20 pounds in the last six months. Besides eating, I am still pretty good at sleeping. I have no trouble falling asleep, sleeping eight or more hours, and feeling refreshed. That pretty much covers my basic animal needs, except for voiding, which is going better thanks to Sennecott.

All of this brings me joy, but it pales in comparison to looking forward to the arrival tomorrow of Obed, Wally, Chris and Emily. I am apprehensive about being  able to get down on the floor when the grandkids  arrive, rolling around on the floor and laughing and tickling - and getting back on my feet. But at this stage of my life I will take what I can get. And I think what I can get are hugs and childish voices saying, "Grandma, Grandpa!"

2016 will not end when the kids go back to New Jersey.  I plan to work on finding joy where I can, even without them.  Part of the joy has been and will continue to be re-establishing deeper and better communication with Rosalee , my children, my siblings, and my friends. some of them, maybe not as many as I would like to think, get tired of my saying I don't deserve all of this love and support. I am trying to realize that deserving has nothing to do with anything good or bad. I did nothing to deserve deadly brain cancer; I did nothing to deserve all the wonders of my life. And I'm glad I'm not going to be punished for not being more perfect.

I started this final journey promising to be truthful and not to look at any situation either with rose-colored or dark-colored glasses. I see no reason to change that approach now.  It is too early to tell whether any of the treatments - radiation, chemotherapy, electrical - are improving my situation. Whatever it is, whether I'm around to write a blog a year from now, I want to say, "I am not afraid." Our job as humans is to take life as it comes and not complain or view it in terms of punishment or reward, but just live each moment as it comes.

Happy New Year.