For the most part, I have been calm during my husband’s cancer treatment. It is the kind of calm that only comes after a wild storm tore the shutters off the windows and tossed your patio furniture onto the neighbor’s lawn. It is the calm that comes when you accept that the mess is too big to hurry through and you just have to start with the large pieces, removing them one by one. The small pieces? You may never even get to those. Feeling overwhelmed is a luxury that you must not allow yourself because, quite simply, it wastes time. You don’t have time. The pieces won’t pick themselves up off the ground, and they don’t need your company down there.
I was doing well surpassing the anger phase until the silliest thing set me off. This time it was a post from a woman describing how she was shamed for having a small engagement ring. I broke the golden rule of the internet and read the comments. We all know that the internet is full of rudeness and overflowing with cowardly cruelty, but this just took the virtual cake for me. Poor timing.
I had just finished crushing up a pain pill to mix with water so that my husband could inject it into his stomach tube.
I had not heard my husband’s voice in weeks because radiation took it away.
I don’t put my hand on his chest while he sleeps in order to cuddle. I am feeling it to make sure it is still rising and falling.
It’s 8:30 pm and I am the only one awake in the house.
I thought that I liked quiet.
Simply typing those things is surreal. Maybe I am jealous that someone could be so privileged that diamond size could actually be a valid concern. The very thought that someone could acquire this very important ring of their dreams, get married, and live to a ripe old age with no gigantic life altering roadblocks… frankly, it’s the most foreign thing I could ever imagine.
I’m not mad, not really. This is just how the chips fell.
So, I married my husband after a whole six weeks of dating. Crazy, right? It was fun. It was exciting. When I stood in the middle of that tacky Reno chapel with the plastic flowers on the wall, I took my vows. I didn’t think about the, “sickness and health.” I didn’t think about what that meant. It is twelve years later and that vow is everything.
My husband will be okay this time… probably. Someday, one of us won’t. It will feel just like this, until it feels worse.
I realize that this may come across as preachy. At this point, I’m okay with that.
So, I challenge the newly engaged. Close your eyes. Imagine a hospital bed. Listen to your spouse’s shallow breath and the rhythmic beeps of machines. The wires. The tubes. You are holding his hand, fingers laced. You look at your hands together. Now open your eyes.
When you looked at your hands, did you notice your diamond?