is for……Cancer. My 49 year old uncle was diagnosed with cancer about a month ago. We reeled. But everyone survives cancer, right? In the space of these 4 short weeks, he’s been told it’s inoperable, then terminal. He’s dehydrated because the tumour in his stomach makes him feel full and nauseous; he won’t eat or drink. So he can’t have the chemo he desperately needs. He’s delirious because of the lack of food and liquid and is increasingly aggressive, shouting at the people who need to love him, now more than ever.
Yesterday the oncologist told his wife 6 weeks. Six weeks? How do you wrap up your life in 6 weeks? How do you tell your children you’re going to die? How do you tie up the admin, when the pain is like a fist and your family is falling apart? Father of 3 kids, the youngest of whom is 9 years old and raging. The middle child confused and desperate. The oldest, 16, quiet, internal, shredded. My aunt, guilty, raw, howling.
My mom and I will go up this Friday, taking my 89 year old grandmother to say goodbye to her son. I don’t know how to do this. I don’t know how to sooth this monstrous tragedy. I don’t know how to make sense of this for my cousins (and godsons) who’s lives are veering wildly off course. I don’t know how to hold my aunt and murmur platitudes and clichés. I don’t know how to help my mom or my gran. I don’t know how to say goodbye to the man who was my guardian, who played the role of dad when my own father was not up to the task. A difficult man to talk to, but someone who loves his family with a fierce, unwavering loyalty. Someone whom I love very, very much.
I’m not ready to say goodbye.
I don’t want to.