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REPOST: On Sundays before the Monday

This is a repost from Healing Art a blog I kept before and after Art died.

Today's post is from November 20, 2006, three months after Art's first diagnosis.

On Sundays before the Mondays that Art starts chemo...

I am filled with a steady, low-humming undercurrent of dread. It’s barely noticeable sometimes.

I’m agitated, less patient, and unsure of myself. I feel more vulnerable to insults, slights, and other perceived wrongs. I dream about Ezra (our youngest) drowning…always Ezra drowning. I’m jittery, amped up, and ready to go, as if I took too many doses of my asthma medicine. My shoulders hurt.

None of this feels good. And that is the only reason I know that I am transforming. Before, in the beginning, being jittery was comfortable. I dealt with the need to move by constantly moving, like a hummingbird from object to object, doctor to patient to friend to the grocery store clerk.

The jumpiness soothed me. I was doing, going...running. Now, my life resembles that of a pelican, sitting patiently, easily rolling with the waves on the ocean. Only big things make me fly, so I think.

On Sundays before the Mondays that Art starts chemo...

Art begins his withdrawal. But not before he spends part of the day holding me, kissing me, and looking deeply into my eyes. (A cliché, I know!) He mopes a bit. He spent the previous days thanking me for holding the fort together with spit, grass, and anything else I could find. He is filled with sorrow and remorse that he has to return to the place of the internal dweller caused by the chemo. He regrets he cannot do otherwise. He is sorry he will become a burden on me for a week or so.

On Sundays before the Mondays that Art starts chemo...

We do our family version of business meetings. Who is picking him up or dropping him off for treatment? When will I visit? When will I take Ezra to buy Pallas’s birthday present? Who will grocery shop for us? We try to make sure nothing falls through the cracks. It is a futile effort always.

Then Monday arrives. It’s all business; kids are up, and the low humming turns into open agitation. The kids react to the electric emotions and rebel.

“I want daddy to get me dressed!"

"You’re stupid, mommy!"

"I don’t feel well. I want to stay home."

"I don’t want _____ to take me to school! Why can't daddy take me to school?”

Suddenly they are all gone. Art and the kids have been picked up. I pace the house, straightening, making mental notes that will be lost when I pick up the next thing off the floor. Finally, I settle, and then I cry.

On Sundays before the Mondays that Art starts chemo...

I am still surprised by how unarmed I feel.

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