Sunday, January 31, 2010

Failing To Be A Magical Cancer Patient

Sometimes I even feel like a failure as a cancer patient. I mean, not completely. I've still got the cancer and everything so I've got that part down and correct. But I'm currently watching Extreme Makeover: Home Edition as they graciously give help to a family who's mother is suffering from cancer. Every time I turn on the TV or check out the RSS feeds I adhere to someone with cancer is having an amazing miracle happen as a result of having cancer. Tonight, while they're building the family a new house, they sent them to Disney World and have them staying in the Cinderella Suite.

I realize that this is all a little ridiculous. I mean through the generosity of friends, family, neighbors and many people we've never met we were able to go to Disneyland in June and able to, for a while at least, keep up with the medical bills. And I am really, incredibly, thankful for those gifts and signs of support. Please don't doubt that. I just wish there was more I could do with my wife. We have, and have had, so little time. This month will be our third, and probably final, wedding anniversary. We haven't had time to really establish what our dreams are, let alone chase them down. But because I'm not a kid, or a woman with kids, I don't qualify for any of the miracles television provides us. I just wish I could give her so much. She's being left with so little.

It goes further. Today, really tomorrow by the time anyone reads this, is my Mom's birthday. It's, most likely, the last birthday I'll spend with her. I really would have loved to have made it something incredible. A memory that she couldn't forget if she wanted to. It was nice. We took her to breakfast this morning. But it wasn't this incredible thing that the world has come to tell me it would be.

Television and movies tell us that when you have cancer, when you're handed a death sentence, your life becomes miraculous. It might not happen immediately. Your family may have to take in a four year old cousin with the wisdom of a wise old woman who softens your heart and makes life spring anew... But it's not real.

In the real world your moments don't become richer. You can appreciate each day and moment as much as you like, but they don't become any more special than any other person's moments. Some of them are sadder, because they become larger mile-stones when they should be pebbles. Some of them are happier, because you realize you won't live long enough to watch Social Security fail and you'll, unlike others your age, actually get some money out of the system you've paid in to.

So maybe I haven't failed. Maybe I'm doing everything I should do as a guy who's dying of cancer. But it feels like that. I don't think anything will change that feeling. I don't think I'll ever be able to give my wife, my Mother, my Father or anyone that special moment I want them to have. Kristin and I will not be staying in the Cinderella Suite. I will not get the opportunity to record a new album. Those magical things aren't going to happen. They don't for most of us.

There's a tattoo on my arm. It's the first piece of wisdom I remember learning. My Dad taught it to me. It's says, "Life is not fair." That's not harsh. It's just a reality.

I don't plan to proof this. Please excuse, as usual, the typos and errors.

Also, could I ask a favor? I can? Thank you so much. Could you please never, ever, ever say to anyone who's dying of anything for any reason, "We're all dying. You just know your time-line a little better," or anything even similar or close to that ever again. It does not help any of us to know that you're going to die too, though we might feel a little better if you did it right after saying that. You'll do that? Awesome. Tell your friends.

1 comment:

Ruth said...

Thanks for writing again, Aaron, you say it so well.
We really do love you so much, and would give you the world if we could afford it.
I'm reading this before going off to bed. I shouldn't have.
We are constantly praying for you. You have been such a witness to those around you, to choose JOY, in spite of circumstances. Thanks for just being YOU, and sharing your thoughts with us. We love you ! Ruth & Allan