Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Lost In Shock.

My last post was about The White Coat. How I love the White Coat. I have changed my mind.

You see, the person wearing The White Coat tells me things I'd rather not hear. Things like, Your dad has cancer and Your father-in-law had a massive stroke. Shit like that, where you sit in a chair and wonder why it tipped into a confusing, blurry hole. Alice in NoFairland.

Now I find myself looking at nursing homes with my husband to find a home for his step-dad. We're like children in Walmart, wondering how we accidentally got lost in the clothes rack. How did we get here? I know how, but the question really is, how do I get out?

And do I want to get out? It's really a sense of rewinding that I'm requesting. Let's rewind the Life Tape and catch strokes, cancer and other random catastrophic shit before they attack the people I love.

For Christ's sake, let's pace ourselves with tragedy. One spoonful here, wait to digest, then another little spoonful there, wait to digest. I need time to digest what feels like shards of glass on my heart.

Since there is not a Rewind button, I'm left with panic attacks that revolve around my own hypochondriac self. This is a part of me I keep thinking I have relieved from life duties but seems to show up with every piece of tragic information. Since The Dads were hit with cancer and a stroke, I have since diagnosed myself with: esophageal cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, blood clots threatening stroke, a hole in my heart, kidney failure, a tooth infection, anemia, heart attack, and most recently, pinkeye. Just for kicks.

This goes without saying, but Web MD is not a good place for me to be. I'm like a drug addict shooting up thoughts of things that could catch me off guard.

But for fuck's sake, look what happened to The Dads. I must have something to cure and heal. It can't be possible that my role in all this is to show up with a meatloaf and a smile. That feels worthless. It's maddening that I have no control over any of it. I want to reach into my dad's body and scrape off the cancer with my fingernails. Make it shiny and new again. I want to take some electrical wire and connect the brain waves again for my father-in-law.

But am I really supposed to be curing shit or is my role to support, love and honor the journey no matter what it is? Isn't that was fearlessness is all about? The radical acceptance of life in its entirety. The good, the bad, and shit that makes me want to cry my eyes out.

I can be the baby throwing a tantrum in the corner screaming "No Fair!" I can choose that. Or I can choose to accept life and all its little surprises. Sometimes these surprises take my breath away because they are so beautiful. Sometimes they take my breath away with shock and panic.

One day, it will simply take my breath away.

But life is not about worry, panic and control. It's about living. And right now The Dads are here for me to love. There is nothing beyond that right now. Life is Now -and Now is always on time. It's not for me to interrogate, question, and revise.

I'm going to give it a shot and be grateful for Now. I don't know what the future holds. I have never known what the future holds and it brought me a pretty great slice of life. It may feel like I have a hole in my heart, but I think I'll just trust that I'm going to be okay. Maybe good, even. So many times I've seen this phrase: "The present is a gift. That's why it's called Present." I think I'll cling to that instead of Web MD.


  1. Kelly, our thoughts and prayers are to you and your family.

  2. Thanks for the post. Going through the same thing with My Dad right now (complications from another heart bypass + prostate cancer + diabetes, etc.) In essence, I agree -- a digestible way to take in tragedy would be awesome.
    My panic attacks set in when I realize that the body doesn't live forever, but the mind could. My Dad has his clarity but damn if the f'ing parts aren't just wearing out. That's the button I want. The button that just replaces what's broke, like a great mechanic so that he can run for another 1 million miles.
    Thanks for the Present quote, I needed it today.

  3. Kathy,

    Thanks for posting. To know that another person is going through this somehow makes me feel better. I have a little safety net to catch me if I fall.

    Enjoy the Present.