Telling his son, about the cancer, was the worst.
It was heartbreaking to see a 40 something man cry. He got so upset. He kept hugging his father and telling him he loved him. Eventually I crept out of the room to give them some privacy.
His daughters took the news well, better than I expected and of course my children had known from the beginning. I think it was a relief for them to know that the cancer had not appeared to have spread.
This weekend Michaels seven year old grandson was celebrating his first communion. He was really miffed to have to wear a red tie, the colour of Manchester United, when he is a ( blue) Manchester city fan. The tie was off before he got out of the church door! But the little girls! oh my word, all dressed up like little brides complete with veils and tiara.
I must explain that I am not a Catholic and I my spiritual beliefs are very different from organised religion. ( each to their own, I have great respect for anybody with a faith) but the service hymns and prayers had an added poignancy for us all. Throughout, Michael kept grabbing my hand and I knew that it was meaningful for him too.
The old priest, known as Father Paddy, is a bit special, a bit of a rebel against the expected stereotype. He can be seen regularly at the race s and drinks with the local ner-do-wells. He is also very very funny.
He married Michaels daughter and baptised their children and I have never been to a wedding where we laughed so much in the ceremony.. The church is always packed because his message is so down to earth and realistic. . No fire and brimstone here.
He said, “ignore all that crowd in Rome, all that religion,…….. all that matters is loving each other, be kind to people and do your best”
They should have made him the new Pope!
Later when we pulled up outside his daughters house, Michael turned to me and said.. “If everything goes wrong, I have had the best 25 years of my life, with you” …. This is the first bit of fear or doubt he has shown and , I tell you I could have sobbed right there in the street.
You never know how you will react when you, or somebody you love, are told they have cancer, or any other life threatening condition.
I din’t really know what I expected. Crying and wringing of hands, sleepless nights perhaps , but strangely, me, the eternal pessimist, has been surprisingly optimistic.
For the past week I have just carried on and slept like a baby. Michael, who usually worries quietly, has talked frankly, but now just wants to get on with things. He has been unusually calm and done his usual ten hours a night sleep.
Without even being concious of it my perspective has shifted. I am acutely aware of sights, sounds and feelings. As though I really have woken up and smelt the coffee. Without being aware of it.
what will be , will be.
Michael and I hug each other more and, without effort, we no longer find the usual irritations, irritating.
We are not particularly thinking or talking about what is to come, just really really making the most of each moment and time is going slowly.
When we do discuss it, there is more a practical aspect to it, because at the moment we are on standby and can’t really make any plans.
The things people say ” take it one day at a time” and stay positive” seem to come without effort. No fight,…….. a bit like a calm surrender.
I am afraid of course, very afraid and I suspect that it will be a long job, which I dread. I am more afraid of the implications of the myelodysplasia than the cancer. How can a man who is already immunosuppressed fight the infections that may come his way during this procedure?
and I am also , selfishly VERY miffed that I should be in California by now and instead I have to go to work! LOL!
But I have a lot of faith in the team of people we have got. Leave it in their hands. Contrary to what people often think, I think health professionals do strive to do their best to make people well……
and did I say this before? Thank goodness for the NHS.