On Sundays before the Mondays that Art starts chemo, I am filled with a steady, low humming under-current of dread. It’s barely noticeable. I’m agitated, less patient, and unsure of myself. I am raw -- vulnerable to insults, slights and other perceived wrongs. I dream about Ezra drowning…always Ezra drowning. I’m jittery, amped up, ready to go, as if I took one 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, easy and familiar. I dealt with the need to move by moving, constantly, like a humming bird from object to object, doctor to patient to friend to grocery store clerk. The jumpiness soothed me. I was doing, going...running. Now, my life resemble 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 the day holding me, kissing me, looking deeply into my eyes (cliché, I know!). He mopes a bit and spends the previous days thanking me for holding the fort together, with spit and grass. He is filled with sorrow and remorse that he has to return to the place of the internal dweller. He regrets he cannot do otherwise. He is sorry he will become, for a week or so, a burden on me. Part of the Sunday before the Monday that Art starts chemo is spent in our family version of business meetings. Who is picking him up or dropping him off? 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, a futile effort.
Then Monday arrives. It’s all business; kids are up, the low humming turns into open agitation. The kids rebel and react to the electric emotions. “I want daddy to get me dressed! You’re stupid, mommy! I can’t hear you mommy! I don’t feel well. I don’t’ want ----- to take me to school!”
Suddenly they are all gone. I pace the house, straightening, making mental notes that will be lost the moment I pick up the next thing off the floor. Finally I settle and then I cry. So many weeks of this shit and I am surprised by how unarmored I still am.