It is October again. As it would be. The last time I published something was last October and that is no coincidence. Ron was diagnosed this week in 2011. He went to the clinic in Jakarta on Monday and Tuesday. Got sent to Singapore on Wednesday and on Thursday was told he had terminal pancreatic cancer. I am pulled back to writing, to putting these feelings on paper.
I am in a different place this year. Not rocked to my knees, feeling spun out of control by the news that my husband was going to die. Not bracing myself mentally for the feeling of being punched in the face emotionally. That is what it used to be like. Now, I am mostly calm, mostly okay-there is heaviness in my chest that has arrived I am used to. It is not alarming. I recognize this grief and I can let it rise up and make itself known and I am okay with it. My back, the body grief, is another story. I might be in a pretty good mood and handling the advent of this week just fine l but the muscles in my neck and upper back are so tight I can barely turn my head. My mind is getting used to dealing with this week but my body hasn't caught up yet. It is the coolness in the air, the fluttering of the first leaves falling, the autumn humidity. My body remembers before my mind.
There are things I wish I knew--why did the doctor and nurse that were helping us keep telling me that Ron's cancer was terminal. I didn't argue, I didn't resist when they told us we needed to go home. They made a big point of telling me that over and over. I wonder why they thought I needed that. I heard them quite clearly the first time.
When Ron told me I was in the guest room, hiding from the children for some privacy. We were talking on the phone via Skype. I was with the girls and two friends of their's--babysitting while the parents were at school at a meeting. They were 6 and 8. I couldn't react with the children around. Ron just told me that they found a big tumor in his pancreas and other tumors in his lungs and I couldn't react. I had to watch the kids and pretend nothing had happened, nothing had changed. I think my mind and body may have separated on that day, at that moment, when I couldn't let my body react-no tears, no screaming. I trembled a bit but the kids didn't notice. I didn't eat dinner but they didn't notice that either. It is not normal or healthy to learn that your entire life has been blown up and not be able to react.
I thought PTSD was something that only emergency responders and soldiers could get. I had no idea that an average person could experience trauma from a loved ones illness and death. When I started to panic in October and especially at the one year anniversary of Ron's death, it was a startling revelation. I get it now. So now, I remind myself that Ron died already. He was diagnosed already. I don't have to brace myself. It can't happen again. I understand why these these feelings arise. Letting them surface, rise up and come out is healthy. I am not afraid of the feelings anymore.
The fall makes me melancholy, it was the beginning of the end. It means the cold is coming and it makes me miss Ron even more. I read a quote I liked recently, "Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go". Bit by bit, I let go of the fear, the shock, the grief softens. I don't let go of Ron. He is a part of me always. I don't let go of Ron and the beauty is that I don't have to.