They say the worst part is not knowing. I think that not knowing was pretty great. Not knowing meant not having to think about it, not even putting it as a consideration in your mind. Now it is there, not even a figment of the worst parts of my imagination, it is real and when something is real you have to deal with it. No hypotheticals here. This time I am not being a drama queen, although I wish so much that I was and it was not really as bad as it is… even though I am aware it is not as bad as it could be. ‘Not as bad as it could be’ is small consolation. It is bad enough.
The worst part is having to tell people. People want to know. They want to be there for you, they want to show they care and although you say you need to be on your own to absorb it all, you want to know that they care… It does help. But in order for them to know, you have to open your mouth and say it:
“Hey, how are you doing? I am doing ok I guess. Actually my dad has Colon Cancer.”
I feel embarrassed saying the words. Mostly because I know the words of pity that will follow, and although you want to be pitied, at the same time it is not me who is sick and even if it were, I by rule of thumb don’t want pity. But then again the pity does help. I guess it is the same as admitting you have a drug problem. The hardest part is getting the words out of your mouth. I mean what is the polite way to shit all over your friends’ good mood and tell them your father has a serious illness.
I don’t even know why I am writing this blog about it… maybe it is because I need to get the thoughts out of my head and onto some kind of paper. Maybe it is just another way to sit at my computer, pretending to work, not feel sorry for myself while not Googling the words ‘colon cancer’. I actually did, but just to check the spelling and after getting a quick glance at the number of people Wikipedia claims die per year from it, I quickly closed the window and did a speed walk of the office to get it out of my head. Clearly it is not totally out… but I accept it and am disregarding it.
I know there are friends who would have me doing all kinds of research into the illness so that I have a better understanding of it, but right now I don’t want to look the thing in the eye… I want to just see it from the corner and be aware of what it is, where it is, and be ready to crush it. I leave the understanding of the beast to the experts, and those friends of mine who are interested and then trusted to give me the PG version. I hate horror movies.
It is funny to see who are the first people you call in this kind of crisis. I guess not so much funny as telling. I guess not so much telling as necessary. I noticed that the first thing I wanted to do was be held… I still want to be held. My bed never seemed as big as it did last night… I have never felt so alone and I craved the touch of someone. I know all about this… grief somehow makes you crave a touch. Perhaps it is a way for us to feel human, feel alive despite the idea of death being in the air. I needed it so much last night. I needed to be held, to feel another body next to me, holding me, letting me know it would all be ok. But there was no-body, nobody that I wanted. At 1 am I considered calling the girls for a group hug to fill out my bed, but reconsidered and decided that that might be a bit weird… especially after spending the evening watching The L word. I think it could have taken our friendship to a whole new level.
That is the other thing… laughter. I crave laughter and I am joking about having colonoscopies and regular colonic irrigations. Bottoms are a very funny topic and there are endless possibilities to make a crack about your crack. I’m not sure it is normal or appropriate to make jokes this early on… I’m not sure my friends and family expect it, in between tears I am laughing. I am even trying to make light of it, because seriously, what else can I do?
The say laughter heals. They say things like, “Be positive. There is something healing in positive energy.” I believe that. I believe that if you are afraid of crashing into the tree you ultimately will. I believe that if you set your sights on the horizon you will ultimately go into that new and brighter day. I believe that my sadness cannot help my father, nor would he want it. I guess we are alike in that way. We don’t want pity. We just want someone to make us smile. As he once said, “I know what I want on my tombstone. The same as Spike Milligan, ‘I told you I was sick’...” Appropriate no?
Laughter will heal. So I promise dad this will be the only time I morbidly mention the C word. I love you.