Time for the Hard Work

My Darling,

There are days it’s just easier to think of everything as if the cancer had killed you. As if the chemo hadn’t helped, and that’s what took you from me. Far easier, than sifting through our lives and looking for the clues that led us here. However, it won’t serve. I want more out of life and a true chance with you, so now it’s time to face all the other aspects of this journey, for the hard work of healing. This is the crap I have to deal with and then let go.

There are days I wish you were dead. I get so angry at you for not still being here that, yes, I wish you were dead. Those are just mostly flashes though. More often I want to have a huge screaming argument with you about all the ways we fucked up and how we could have both been better. Mostly, I want to point out what you did that hurt me; however, a little part of me really wants to know what made you feel so unhappy with us and why you wouldn’t say.

And that’s the start of it: what didn’t we say? What didn’t we ask for? Why didn’t we say it?

My anger always seems to come back to that you didn’t talk to me about the Novena. You let that fester for months, and only later–in a moment of anger, of frustration–did you share how you thought I’d embarrassed you, thrown a temper tantrum out of exhaustion and hunger. It never even occurred to you that I was hurt, that something had happened to me. You assumed it was just me having a childish meltdown. Then you held it in and let it grow between us.

Mainly, this hurts because I was acting sanely to protect myself–that tall fat hombre crushed me, and in the noise and confusion, I had to shove him to get free. Of course I ran for the door. Of course I looked upset. I hurt badly. But you were so into your thing–your fucking precious Novena fundraiser–I couldn’t even go to you, and I didn’t want to distract you. So I went out, to get air, to recover.

But it hurts because things must have already been so far gone that you couldn’t even give me the benefit of the doubt. That it was easier for you to listen to the Colombians who didn’t know me but esteem you than to think something had gone wrong and you hadn’t noticed. Better to assume I was falling apart again and embarrassing you, than to consider I might be in need of your care and support. How ironic to think that in my attempt to protect you, I manage to condemn myself instead…

And now this is the hard work, because I remember how you used to coming running when I hurt–how solicitous you were to my colds, my nights of sleeplessness, my minor injuries. That at some point, we went from you only wanting to take care of me to thinking I was a basket case. I know I fell apart far too often during the cancer in ways that hurt you. I know that I was at my healthiest when I met you and you had to watch me slide backwards over the succeeding months and years until the thought of losing you to cancer undid me.

There are so many moments of coulds and shoulds and why didn’t I’s during that time. Looking back, I have to forgive all that–it was all I could do at that point, no matter what hindsight tells me. I have seen counselors, opened myself to new forms of therapy, reconnected with my inner self and all that power. I have moved past those behaviors and thought patterns. The question is: will you see that? Can you let go of all that and see me in the now, as I truly have emerged from this chrysalis of pain into something magnificent–just encased in the same physical form? Will you see the subtle differences?

All my love.

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