Sunday, May 31, 2009

Fragile, Handle With Care

That phrase seems to best describe all three of us this weekend…


Beth is frightened. Beth has been very sick and the changes in her from last weekend are startling and frightening. She is thinner and gaunt. She is weaker. Her skin is translucent. There is a sense of fragility as though merely touching her with my clumsy hands will break her. Beth has always had a BIG presence and now she seems smaller. There is urgency in Beth’s actions – a need to push to finish things. There are presents to send, postcards and letters to write. She has a need to do what she can to make sure Linda is taken care of. The universe is unfair, Beth is frightened and she is fragile.


Linda is frightened. She can’t stop the degeneration Beth’s illness causes. She can’t pretend that there will be a happy ever after and that she and her love will grow old together. So Linda throws herself into things she can control. She rearranges the living room furniture. She focuses on feeding us. She makes lists of what to do and prioritizes them. She makes a master list of the lists. Hers are the actions of someone trying to keep the fear at bay. She is trying to be strong, to be the anchor and yet she is wounded as well. The universe is unfair, Linda is frightened and she is fragile.


I am frightened. The changes in Beth from week to week are no longer subtle. I stay up much too late during the week reading medical journals on line and looking for anything we can do to improve Beth’s quality of life and her quantity of life. I wish I could take an extended leave of absence to be here more. I count the weeks before my workload eases enough for me to be granted more leave. I hate the 18 miles of water that puts limits on how readily I can get to Victoria if/when needed. I hate the uncompassionate and apathetic healthcare Beth receives. I hate the lack of wealth that keeps us from seeking medical help in other places. I am trying to be strong, to be someone Beth and Linda can lean on. Yet my emotions are so near the surface. The more I try to control them and keep them in, the more they break through. I am frightened and it makes me snappy. I am frightened and it makes me sad. I am frightened and it makes me hurt. I am frightened and I cry.

The universe is unfair, I am frightened and I am fragile.


nicole said...

I sent an email to Beth yesterday which got kind of stuck while sending, it says it's sent, I hope it arrived, too...

Take care, all of you. You're in our thoughts.

yanub said...

There are time when there simply aren't words. But the feeling is here, Linda and Cheryl. My heart goes out to you, for your pain and fear and sorrow. Beth, I know, fights so hard for every extra minute, and lives those minutes so intently. Please, tell her for me that she has mattered in my life. If she somehow pulls through this, she will continue to matter. And if she succumbs, still she will matter.

Also, tell her that the postcard she sent, that she couldn't remember and I was blanking is Monkey D. Luffy. He was a perfect choice.

Anna said...

sorry for you, all three.Thinking and praying for you all. Not much but anyway. Can't imagine the stress you are all facing.

wendryn said...

It must be incredibly hard to be dealing with this. All of you are very strong to have held up this long. I wish I could help more...

*hugs* sending good thoughts your way!

Olivia said...

Oh dear. Hugs to all of you. It's so hard, what you're all going through. I hope writing about it here helps a bit.

FridaWrites said...

Cheryl, you are a good person and a good friend, the best. What's happening is truly unfair.

Raccoon said...

you've got 18 miles separating you. And your workload.

(This is going to sound really strange!)

I envy you, being close enough to be able to help. Even if it's just on weekends.


Linda McClung said...

Cheryl: Thanks for writing this post. You captured our feelings and emotions well. I agree, fragile was the best word to describe each of us.

Are you sure cleaning up, er... moving things is a sign of my fear. And about that feeding thing - feel free to jump in any time!

And to Beth, if you're reading this, sorry for flipping out on you last night. I think I went from fragile to broken. Feeling very much on the mend today - thanks to you.

Raccoon: No need to be envious. You make a huge difference in our lives - you keep me sane with the things you do. You take many of my worries away.

rachelcreative said...

Thinking of you all

Lene Andersen said...

Beth's presence getting smaller more than anything conveyed the changes. I didn't know Beth could get smaller and it frightens me.

Linda's lists made me smile - she and I cope the same way. The reason for Linda's lists made my heart ache. As it does for you, Cheryl. I understand what Raccoon said about envying you the ability to get there, but also think that those 18 miles can seem wider than the thousands between me and Victoria. There is no possibility of me getting there, no matter how much I wish I could. But you can and yet can't.

Sending all of you big hugs.

Stephanie said...

Wishing you all luck and strength. Don't know what else to say.