I always wondered how my dad coped when dealing with cancer, this piece is based around soft conversations we shared in hushed conversations of the heart. I hope you enjoy it. He lives on. Omnia Vincit Amor
It started like every other day, the golden rays of sunlight peeping through the small gaps in my curtains, creating dancing shadows. The welcome of a new day and whatever new horizons needed to be crossed, the familiar sights and smells of spring that dared to venture through my slightly opened window.
What I never knew at that particular moment, within that early morning sense of elation, that it would be the last time I truly felt my old self.
Things would change exponentially over the next coming hours.
I woke slightly happier than the day before, the pain has subsided in my left side and the feeling of bloatedness had diminished.
I thought, should I tell them the internal agony I have been enduring for weeks and months or should I carry on? All strands of the same thoughts regularly skimmed over my tongue as I spoke with my children but I always held back.
I tried to rise but my legs wouldn’t move, the pain coursing down my knees was too incredible to describe in mere words alone, I lay back down unable, even with my steely resolve, to conquer the immeasurable pain and carry on the charade for as long as I could. I it seems had entered the metastasis stage.
Cancer creates a sense of pretence, we carry the silent lie within us clasped like a medal warmly against our chest, the mere thought of it creates fear and with that thought, fear permeates the essences of which we are, the effect it would have upon our children and friends, so we silently bear the pain. The strain held in check by that enamoured fake smile we will learn to perfect, a skill the Oscar nominated, would be applauded for portraying with relative ease. We shuffle from A to B with an air of normality, carrying the charade with ease as time passes, but as with all things, a silent tipping point always presents itself!
We eventually reach the point where the pain becomes too intense and slowly we realise the charade must come to its climax, and the truth must be told or will we take the path of the fool, and play dumbfounded, misinforming them of when the symptoms started and in doing so, reducing the pain for family members. Play it as though it has only just appeared, save them the internal guilt of not having recognised the obvious signs with reflection, and make them wonder why they never saw them.
We lie to save them from the truth, the truth that due to internal and external pressures, children, life and its many interconnected necessities, we can’t see everything. We save them with grace but not from the silent truth that it’s now a game of chance!
Will the treatment work or will our old friend, who silently follows us throughout all our lives, pay us a visit. Will he come from the shadows and steal us away like a thief in the night or will he stroll in with some of our friends to make the final journey home less traumatic.
Going home with friends on a Saturday was always easy; I hope this is his style. A silent gesture of compassion as he escorts us back to whence we came, a place when the suns is always bright and the friends of yesteryear always visit, the fear of life’s many problems blown away like cobwebs in the winds of change. A place where old family are reunited and as we sit seated on cushions of light, reconnect through long nights of conversations centred on those we have left behind, those we love and will always visit.
My silent tipping point has arrived the pain is too intense to carry on, the doctor will be called, I have prepared for the news. The symptoms are all there, I will be strong, I will overcome, I will survive, I will be there to feel the early wind on the hills as I stroll within fields of green, I will breathe the fresh morning air as it caresses the greenery upon its early morning escapades.
I will be there tomorrow and everyday in spirit if it must be so, but survive I will, carried within hearts of beating emotions, hearts which will sing my songs as long as they remember. Songs filled with memories and inescapable moments which they will visit when they see my face. I will survive either way for I must.
Pray for me as I pause before I shout out for help, before I raise the alarm and all hell breaks loose.
This is the silent transition period, a time where all stands still and thoughts flows like a tempestuous monsoon through your mind.
I am in here, my Amygdala working overtime; I am in here separated from the physical, stood inside my own safe room, a construct I made when I first noticed the signs, a retreat from the pain and noise of the outside world.
A place where on a wooden desk next to a soft chair sits my friend Remington, on this friend I am typing this. A brief lullaby for the world, should I have spoken earlier, who knows, the tipping point is reached.
With reflection, if I had spoken earlier, would I have had the relatively good few years I have had or would I had been given the dreaded treatment earlier, and shipped like cargo to the final resting place for so many starting with the word H.
All silent questions now permeates the air, I can feel myself shouting, has my core self separated, am I now suffering from dissociative identity disorder, formerly referred to as multiple personality disorder, a condition wherein a person's identity is fragmented into two or more distinct personalities.
I can hear the voices rushing to my aid but still I type.
I am being carried, soothing voices are speaking in hushed voices, and “call the ambulance!” is the loudest.
My eyes seem like shaded windows, shadows are creeping in; I can hear my voice but understand it not.
My other self is speaking, the strong one who has always been my truest friend, strength when needed, showing up and dealing with it all as I hide.
A friend told me a family member of his who was diagnosed, seemed detached and seemed too brave, I now know why, for I must appear the same.
I must go now, my silent friend is now calling me forward to soothe my family for he cannot express what the true self can, he is frantically beckoning forward, the pain killers are now coursing through my veins, it’s now safe, we meet, two selves but the same, a fragmented soul but always the same, I smile as I look deep within his blue eyes, my eyes, and I silently communicate, “You will be needed more frequently my friend, gather your strength.” He smiles as he replies, “anything for you!”
Am I crazy, no I am not, only coping!
We all need strength from somewhere in great moments of doubt, if I conquers this, maybe he wouldn’t be needed as by going through this, I will learn to be strong on my own.
I step forward, I speak, “yes son, it started last night!”
With faith anything is possible.