I am sure that our experiences are causing a lot of people to reflect on their lives and try to imagine what this might be like. How incredibly sad and heartbreaking, not only for Dan, but for me & for us. How unfair it is that someone so young who has done nothing but turn a terrible situation into a source of inspiration for others and opportunity to contribute to the betterment of the world will leave way too soon.
I am painfully of aware of these emotions. So much so that I don't need people to repeat them for me, or even acknowledge them. I don't need anyone to go try to imagine it- trust me, it's not worth the trip.
If I stopped to think what has happened over the past year, I may not be able to move- engaged last March...Dan is hospitalized for an infection but non-cancer related...six weeks later- the cancer spreads. Wedding halted. The fall is spent trying a new treatment-it fails. A new treatment is started, and it's brutal. I lose my job. The treatment improves the cancer situation, but robs Dan of a quality of life. Wedding is on. Ascites. Grave concern. Wedding cancelled. New treatment. No response. No options.
I am no saint. Dan comes pretty close. I've lost my temper, sometimes at him & most of those times, unfairly. There is so much loss here... but I have gained so much.
Although sadness is with me daily, there is an overwhelming feeling of joy and peace. How is that possible? I have enjoyed getting to spend so much time over the past week with Dan's brother Bobby who lives in CA. It has been a privelage to watch one brother care for another, and to spend this time together with the both of them. I've learned more about Dan from the letters & posts that people have written- some things I may have never learned. I have better insight into cancer and specifically, young adults with cancer.
Time comes and goes only in beautiful moments now. I am immensely aware of the fragility of life, and how much that makes things so clear. And not just huge things. Like today, I was thinking how much I like wearing jeans, a t-shirt and flip flops. And how perfectly worn in those flip flops are... and it made me happy.
Of course, it helps that Dan guides me through this, as usual. He is at peace with what is happening, and that makes it much easier for me. I am not afraid. I am not burdened. Although tiring, caring for him is effortless for me. He trusts me to get him through it, and I am honored to do so.
This is not to say that the bottom won't fall out for me- I know it will. But not yet- it's not the right time. My job isn't done yet. And even though it's tough to imagine some days, I believe that this story will not be a tragedy. I know it certainly sounds like one (go ahead- explain it to someone- sounds like a Lifetime movie of the week!). At a time when it would be so easy & understandable to be bitter & angry & desolate... I still believe that there will be a happy ending somewhere down the road. And that brings me peace.
Dan is resting right now. I am sitting with him. I can't imagine any other place I'd rather be...