Sitting in a Writing Workshop at Cal State San Marcos, my teacher gives us a word of the day to write on for 6 minutes. We wait eagerly with pens in hands.
“Beginnings,” she says.
Normally I like beginnings–it reminds me fresh starts–clean sheets, swept floors, fresh air, new home, new babies with little pink noses and corn kernel toes, 1st day of school, excitement and goals, new year’s resolutions. They remind me of fresh green plants. Cool blue water.
But not today.
Today the first thing I think of is that this week my husband begins chemotherapy. This beginning is one I’d rather fast-forward to the end.
This is not clean or blue or fresh. This beginning is vile.
It will fill my husband’s throat with bile and stain our bed sheets with sweat that smells like poison so strong,
I will throw them out when we are done in 5 months.
This marks the beginning of foggy thinking
and of needles in the arm that are inserted by cold, rubbery gloved hands
meant to protect the nurses from the toxic liquid
they will drip into my husband’s veins for one hour, two hours, four hours, eight.
This is the beginning of a summer with neither beaches or swim parties, nor hikes in the hills on sunny days
…can’t have his skin burn.
This is the beginning of hair loss, and no sex for 24-48 hours after chemo
because the chemicals will leach out of everything
as it, “kills everything, everything” his oncologist repeated in his office last week, hands waving through the air to emphasize his point.
Everything except Owen. My love, Owen.
Who wants that?
I hate this post.
I don’t want to publish this post.
I’m supposed to be optimistic: a positive role model. A vision of courage. A cheerleader. I’m supposed to inspire people with my faith, and avoid awkward moments where my audience doesn’t know what to say so they respond with canned comments that only make me want to scream like–“It’s all for the best” or “Just think about the good this will do in the end, right?”
And they are right. But it doesn’t make it easy. And I do have faith. I am a cheerleader. I am courageous.
Just not today.
Can I get one day? Just one day to be depressed and voice it on a public page and share with everyone that I’m NOT looking forward to this beginning?
The only thing I look forward to is the end.
That bright, clean, blue end where we can plan our new years resolutions for 2016.
Where we can throw away the prescriptions and the Peptobismol and the SPF 100.
Where we can go on vigorous hikes on hot days, finding rest in the shade to sip the cool water in our canteens and talk nothing more about the pain or the nausea or fatigue, but instead about that sunny summer cruise along the Pacific ocean beaches we just took.
Where we can move from sickness and on to health in our marriage.
Where we can submerge ourselves in its new waters and wash this year all away and reemerge revived and reborn.
Where we can both grow our hair out long and wild…and stay up until late together eating pizza and laughing about nothing…and make love anytime we want on clean smelling sheets.
I want to skip this beginning and get to the end. The end of cancer and the beginning of our resurected life where nothing more will be taken for granted.