Saturday, November 20, 2010

Comfortable Pain

It's just after one in the morning as I start this. Not really knowing what I'm about to say. My life has taken the form of so many metaphors recently. Tonight we'll go with an ocean. The tides keep rolling in and out. Yet every tide carries a different package. Some are full of emotional overload, be they "good" or bad" emotions. I tend not to look at our emotions as bad or good. They are simply what we feel and, when we're honest with ourselves, a window into the moments or our life. Some tides carry news. Again, bad and good. Again, it all becomes very relative. Tonight it seems I've been caught in an undertow.

I have searched throughout this ordeal for God's purpose. There's no telling if knowing His purpose would make it easier or not. I think it would. I think that if I was able to grasp, in some way, what the plan was all this pain would feel justified. For the record, and I never forget this is all on the record, the pain I speak of isn't my own. The hardest part about this unplanned trip I'm on is watching my Wife, my Mother and most of all my Father suffer through watching me drift away. It's a constant good-bye. Every time we part we think, just for a second sometimes, about all that's going on. It's like a fire-ball of pain and, just as you realize the pain, it goes blank.

It's terrible to be the source of so much pain. Yes, there's joy there. But the pain is real and, to quote Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka, "The suspense is terrible. I hope it will last." It's the easiest way to explain how we live. We know that the chance of my dying is 99% but we don't know when. The suspense builds and builds. We know it's coming. We don't know the date. We don't know which corner it's around. Suspense, as my wife who hates horror films will attest, suspense can be painful. It's scary. Terrifying. Suspense is how we live now. But the other option... The end of the suspense is my death. I think I can safely say that my family doesn't want that. So we live in fear.
"The suspense is terrible. I hope it will last." - Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka
I have no fear of death. I believe that I know where I go when I die. I believe I'll be reunited with God in the way our relationship was intended and life will be nothing like we currently know it. I look forward to that reunion. Just didn't expect it so soon. But I do fear saying goodbye.

My motto for years, especially during my previous marriage, was, "comfortable pain." A pain that we were willing to live in because whatever was out further, or whatever was next, could be worse. A pain that was comfortable. Back then the statement was all about the need to get past comfortable pain and move on to whatever was waiting. If it was worse, we should look for another step and move on. If it was better, we'd have saved ourselves years of pain. Now... Now the phrase means, for me, that this pain is more comfortable than saying goodbye. I look at my wife and am overwhelmed at the thought of leaving her. I watch my parents and feel my heart rip into two because I can't be the one to be there for them. There are even certain friends from which my departure feels like the uprooting of a thousand year oak.

I'm trying to be more honest with people who ask questions about how I'm doing. It isn't easy. I have to walk that fine line between the painful, ugly, truth and happy-go-lucky lies. While it's true that, in my opinion, any omission of truth brings a statement into lie territory. It's also true that most people don't want to hear an hour long story that involves death, vomit and blood when they ask, "How ya feeling?" I walk the line fairly well most of the time. But it's starting to feel dishonest. Right now I don't see a lot of friends anymore so what do I have to lose really? It's not like I'm going to offend and scare them off.

It still won't be a long answer most of the time but, fair warning, if you ask how things are going it may occasionally prove to be a much longer answer than you expected. Be prepared to hear me out or I'll grab your ankle with the crook of my cane as you try to get away.

Please be in prayer for us over a couple major things:

First, Kristin had an interview yesterday and it's turned into a "working interview" on Monday. While it would, of course, cut down greatly on our time together, it would answer a lot of prayers.

Secondly, I have been officially turned down for the disability extension to my COBRA insurance provided in some of the more recent legislation. I claim I notified their predecessor and they claim, accurately, I have no proof. So January 31st I loose all insurance. Unfortunately it's just as expensive to die of cancer as it is to treat it. We've tried every avenue. Our only option is going to be Kristin getting a job that provides insurance we can purchase a share in.

Random Information:

I'm in a pretty good mood for most of every hour. I've got a new pain med. Actually it's an old one that I'm trying again. But my drug no longer has a generic available and this one does. It's an incredibly itchy patch that I have to wear for three days. That itchiness is what's keeping me up right now.

Christmas this year is harder. Harder than last year and harder than I had expected this year.  Speaking of Christmas, and believe me I find this terribly uncool, some have asked, again, to mention anything I'd like for Christmas. Kristin and I both have wish-lists on



Also, if you'd like a Christmas card this year, I will do my best to comply if you'll send me an email, including your address to (Please don't assume that I have your address. My computer died recently and, along with thousands of songs and pictures, I've lost most of my friends addresses.) The cards are always hand designed and this year's was kind of fun for us. Let's just say it pictures Santa and involves a probable Twitter from Jesus.

Finally, for now, here's the old Bloom County comic I try to post somewhere every Thanksgiving (withou permission or any malice in my heart). I actually was able to speak to it's author, Berke Breathed, about it several years ago. His first simple response was something to the effect of, "I've loosed up a lot since then."

1 comment:

Becky said...

praying for all of you