Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Love is always bestowed as a gift…

Love is always bestowed as a gift…freely, willingly, and without expectation...We don't love to be loved; we love to love." – Leo Buscaglia

When Ingrid started to speak. I wanted 'it' all to go away. I wanted 'it' to be washed away, for this diagnosis, this prognosis to be a horrible, horrible mistake. I could not hear Stage Four cancer. I could not hear 'it' is in her bones and 'it' is tingling up her spine. And yet, I heard all of it. I can not imagine that we are entering our final act.

I could hear how scared she is. I could hear how she can not leave her children. I could hear how young her kids were and how she would not be remembered. I could hear how she was afraid of vanishing from their lives and from their memory.

But I could not cry in front of her. I could not repeat Stage Four Cancer. I could not repeat the facts of the cancer, I could not utter that it was in her spine. Because then it would filter through to my heart.

'Right then...' was all I could say... 'And I am here... Ohhh, Honey I am here... There, there... I am here...Chemo, I am there... I will hold your hand, I will wipe the tears...'

If I repeated 'Stage Four' it would be true. And my heart, my heart...

And then she jolted me with 'I do not know what I was expecting Pend. Why did I ask him? Why did I need to know so soon? I foolishly thought okay... Radiation; chemo; bring it on and I would kill it. The treatment would kill it and I could move on... He told me initially that the cancer, the cancer probably caused the herniated disk... And that is why my back hurt so much. And well, ha! it wasn't a herniated disk, it was the cancer. It has spread. And you know my mother keeps on saying we can fight this... But Pend it is in my spine... And I look at my kids...'

'Ingrid, you know you do not even look sick.' I try to add.

She laughs.

'I have lost all my hair. Pendullum.'

'Ingrid, you have not. '

And with that she takes off her wig made of human hair dyed to match her own unique colouring. She takes off her wig and I sit beside her and run my fingers through her remaining hair. Hair that used to be a mane. Hair that was so full ;as kids we would make fun of it as being just a blob no matter what she did with it.

'Oh My dear sweet Ingrid. You look like a punk. A bonafide punk mohawk is what you have... A rockin mom! My, sweet, sweet, Ingrid.. The queen of Prep, looks like a punk...Who would have thunk?'

And with that she laughed... and I wiped her tears.

and she kept her wig on her lap.

"We try and keep it light around the house. We do not talk about it. Jim cooks and I play with the kids. He's a really good cook!'

We talk about her family and mine. We talk about how my Scooter looks exactly like me as a child. And we laugh about our cherished, glorious, ever so distant past.

And she left me and we are to have lunch this week. We are to spend precious afternoons together and we are to try and get as much time in before... Before...

My heart is broken.

My heart feels as though I can not make it through.

But I must.

I know. I know what lies ahead. I have gone down this road too many times before.

I can not cry in front of her. I can not make the cancer go away. I can not make the pain go away. I can only be with her. I can only be with her when it hurts and when it is not so bad. I can hold her hand and I will be there. For that is what I need and want to do.

But it hurts.

It hurts so bad that you cry in the shower when no one is around. You cry and you cry a valley of tears. You do not think you have anymore tears and then they start all over again. Your chest aches and your heart is being tugged and it feels as though it will burst out of your chest. And sometimes it catches you when you least expect it, like putting away the groceries or a song that brings you back to a time that was. And you are back to sobs that have to be muffled in case your famly hears as they will try and make the pain go away...
Ans they will be helpless as the pain must stay with you. It will be there slowly, dulling and you will be able to breath again.

I will be able to breath again without the sobs. I have learned this. I have learned that it hurts, the heart aches and then you can exhale without as much pain as the last time. I will be able to draw air in without it causing me to wince. I know this.

And sometimes we look for answers. Look for just a sign on how to get by and it happens...

And today after meeting my daughter for lunch in -30 Celcius weather I began to walk home with my head focused on the white salt stained pavement below my feet. The streets are abandoned, as who would brave such weather? I began to walk alone and in the chill of winter voices tend to carry. And I could hear the voice of a man and a woman talking. I looked up.

The elderly man was walking ahead of his wife. He was walking with a cane a few feet ahead of his wife and he was aggitated. You could see it in the way he held his head and in the stance of his walk. He looked strong and determined and his wife looked frightened.

I could hear him say'So, if I fall I fall. Such is life. I pick myself up, wipe off the snow and carry on. '

I can not hear his wife as she has her mouth muffled by a scarf. But I can see the worry in her eyes. and as they pass me I can hear...

'Wha? So I get hurt! You can not stop me from falling! If I fall; I fall. Please let me walk. And if I hurt myself, I hurt myself. I will still want to walk. You can not stop these things, they happen, and I not going to live my life in fear of what could happen if I fall. I need to live, Love. I need to do this. '

And so it is.

I will carry on. I will walk and I will stumble along the way. And indeed I will hurt myself. But it is so very nice to have all of you there to help wipe away the tears.

Thank you so very much for all your beautiful, beautiful comments. I have cried through each and every one of them. And I know I will revisit them a great deal through all of this....

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

And to all of you on Valentine's Day... My heart has been helped along the way by each and every one of your comments... You have helped pick me up along the way...
I will look up to the stars... the heavens and the blue blue window beyond the stars...
And where I can not change the course... I am so glad that you all have come along .. Love you all!

58 comments:

Gingers Mom said...

Oh I am so sorry. I have nothing else to say but Ingrid is in my prayers. And you too. I wish I could make it better.

Mary-LUE said...

I can not make the cancer go away. I can not make the pain go away. I can only be with her. I can only be with her when it hurts and when it is not so bad. I can hold her hand and I will be there. For that is what I need and want to do.

These words are so true. I wrote something similar to a friend who was going through the death of a child. Oh goodness, I'm probably repeating what so many others have already said to you, that I don't know what words to say.

I'm not only sad for your friend but for you and this latest in a string of losses. I can recognize in your words that you are familiar with grief and loss.

I'll throw my prayers in there with the others. I do believe in the power of prayer and healing and I will pray for Ingrid to have more time with her family and with you.

kim said...

Ohhh Pen I am soooo very sorry .. my heart breaks for you and your friend.
Please email me Pen, any time day or night ... *biggest hugs ever*

Grim Reality Girl said...

My heart stopped when I read stage 4.

You are right. You can't make it go away. You are strong, the tears wash pain away from your soul so there is room for love (and yes, more hurt -- but more love too).

You are a true friend holding back for the benefit of your friend. It is okay to cry with her too... I am glad her husband is a good cook and she is getting that time to play with the kids. I pray for you, her, and the family. I wish I could make this go away. I will do what I can, and that is to pray.

When cancer was taking my Mom the prayers of family, friends and strangers gave us the strength to carry through. The nurse on the cancer floor at the hospital told me to "Live in the NOW!" I stopped thinking about what was to come and spent my time I had left with her enjoying every little moment I could.

Amazing that you happened upon that older couple when you did. That is just amazing. Sometimes I think we overhear messages we are meant to hear even though we are not the intended recipients. I think it is even more amazing that you heard and got the message.

"You can not stop these things, they happen, and I not going to live my life in fear of what could happen if I fall. I need to live, Love. I need to do this."

I know this was a hard post to write. Know that you wrote it beautifully and it will speak to many. Hang in there.

Catch said...

My prayers are with you Pen. I know this is not going to be easy for you. Being there for her is such a wonderful gift to give her Pen. She is giving you a wonderful gift too. The gift of knowing she chose you to help lift her spirits and share her thoughts and fears with. Thats quite an honor. You two have a very strong bond. I know in my heart what kind of person you are without ever meeting you, and I can understand why Ingrid feels so comfortable with you. Bless you.

Janet a.k.a. "Wonder Mom" said...

I hug you tightly.

I'm so sorry. I am so saddened by your pain. I wish I could take it away.

I hug you fiercely.

Oh, The Joys said...

Pend,

I don't have the right words at all, but I am thinking of you.

Love,
Jessica

parvenue writer said...

So sorry, Pend. What a beautifully written post. I'll keep you both in my thoughts.

Andrea said...

I can not make the cancer go away. I can not make the pain go away. I can only be with her. I can only be with her when it hurts and when it is not so bad. I can hold her hand and I will be there. For that is what I need and want to do.

Perhaps, by your being at her side, holding her hand and her heart while steadying your own, you'll be giving her the strength to fight it just a little bit harder. And that little bit could make all the difference in the world. So maybe you can take away her pain. Maybe you can help her make the cancer go away. She'll need all the tricks she can come up with the fight, and having you in her corner is a pretty big boost.

I'm thinking of you and Ingrid, Pen. And hoping for both of you.

Andrea

Mrs. Chicky said...

If I could I'd give you a giant hug and squeeze you until you cried out. Words won't help, all the I'm sorrys in the world won't help. I've found in times like this breaking things brings a moments relief (it's true, smash a plate and you'll see) but it won't make your pain go away. Or your friend's. Give her a big hug and listen to whatever she wants to tell you, even the horrible stuff. Don't make her stop because it hurts you. You're a good friend to her. Sometimes that's enough.

Becky said...

((((((((((((((PENDULLUM)))))))))))))) - I really don't know you at all, yet I all I can is send you lots of hugs. I have no other words of comfort as obviously there are none. We are all here for you, for Ingrid... we are all here...

St Jude said...

My dear sweet friend, no off the cuff remarks or flipancy from me today, just know that I am holding both of you in my heart and in my thoughts. xx

Jodi said...

I am so sorry for you and your dear friend. I am sending hopeful, postive thoughts your way. Also, know in your heart what a blessing and a comfort you are to Ingrid. There is nothing more comforting than a great long-time-ago friend at your side when you are happy/sad/and/or scared. Please keep us posted.

warren said...

You write so well. This is a beautiful post of love and pending loss.

Pattie said...

I wish I could give you a big hug right now. How my heart breaks for you. That song said it all....it is a "helpless" feeling. You cannot cure her disease. The thing you can do is what you are doing already....being there for her.

Mel said...

((((((((Pendullum))))))))))

Hang in there, love.

Fresh Mommy said...

What a beautifully written post. I am so sorry to read about your friend. It's another reminder of how horrible, horrible cancer is. The KD Lang accompaniment brought me to tears...Wishing your friend comfort and peace.

Marcie said...

You and Ingrid are lucky to have each other.

Sayre said...

"Wha? So I get hurt! You can not stop me from falling! If I fall; I fall. Please let me walk. And if I hurt myself, I hurt myself. I will still want to walk. You can not stop these things, they happen, and I not going to live my life in fear of what could happen if I fall. I need to live, Love. I need to do this."

Yes. Your friend is that old man. But you are the cane - enabling her to walk when she needs and wants to. Be strong, Pendullum... and we'll help hold YOU up, as you support her.

mamatulip said...

Pendullum, I've just caught up on your last post and now this one. My heart is aching for you and for Ingrid. I am truly sorry, deeply sorry, yet I am glad that she has your friendship, love and support.

So much of what you have said in these posts rings true for me. Take care of your friend, and take care of yourself. You're both in my thoughts.

chelle said...

oh Pend ... my heart breaks when I read about your heart breaking .... HUGS! I can only imagine the struggles that you and your friend have to face. All you can do is be there, cherish every moment!

Happy Valentine's Day ...

Stepping Over the Junk said...

I really need to stop all my blubbering. Everyone has an aching and breaking heart in different ways and I am so sorry yet know you are cherishing your moments together and you are such an incredible friend to her, hearing what you say and do. Thank you for your sweet comment on my recent post on my blog, I am stunned by the comments I am receiving and so lovely to hear kindness from "strangers". People are a good support, in so many ways, no?

Rock the Cradle said...

It's strange, isn't it.

When every moment is the most vivid, memorable moment of your life and all your senses are hyper aware of the world around you, and it is so intense and powerful just existing that it hurts.

Learning how to die is really learning how to live.

Amber said...

I'm blubbering away and don't even know the woman. Because I think all of us as moms can relate to the devastation of not being there to see our children grow up. And worse: for them not to remeber us.

wayabetty said...

Oh Pendullum! I'm truly sorry to hear of this news once again. But I know that Ingrid is very lucky to have such a great friend to be there for her throughout this whole horrible ordeal.

My hope and prayers are with her and her family and you too my friend. Lots of hugs!

Christina_the_wench said...

Oh, Pend. *hugs*

I believe your encounter with the older couple was God's way of giving you your answer on how to cope with this. He can work it out.

We're all here for you. You know that.

Her Bad Mother said...

The more the love, the gentler the tears.

Nikki said...

Pend, Everytime I come over here, you give me goosebumps.

Hon, I'm sorry about Ingrid. Keep doin' what you do, being who you are, and you'll make it thru.

Mama Drama Jenny said...

I wish I could say something more to make this road easier. All I can say is that I'm thinking of you.

Dirty Blonde said...

I've been away from your blog, so I am sorry I'm a day late and a dollar short.

There are no words in any language for the sorrow in my heart for you. I know horrible it is to have to sit by and watch something so devestating and not be able to stop it.

You are already doing the best thing you can for her...loving her, making her laugh, remembering her as a healthy woman. All these things are the stuff that true medicine is made of. You can't take away her cancer but you can certainly help her through the pain. She is truely blessed to have a friend like you by her side.

Kevin Charnas said...

And I love you too, Pend...Know that my shoulder is strong, my ear is poised and ready, my phone is always on and you and Ingrid are positioned in the confines of my heart.

Yours,
Kevin

Sarah said...

A truly beautiful writing even in the midst of such sorrow.

My heart reaches out to yours. Please know I care even though I only know you through your blog.

Catherine said...

Oh, Sweet Pendullum, I'm so sorry!!

I unexpectedly lost my best friend when we were 13, and it changed me forever. I can't imagine how it must feel to EXPECT losing your best friend after so many more years invested into the relationship. Please know that miles and miles away, someone is thinking of you, praying for you, and feeling heartbroken on your behalf. And, like Kevin and all the others, I'm always here if you need a friend.

Catherine said...

P.S. I love that you quoted Leo Buscaglia. His book LOVE is one of my favorites.

Slackermommy said...

I'm so sorry. What a difficult time for you. What a beautiful and thoughtful post. All the best to you.

Sandra said...

I am so sorry Pend. My heart hurts and the tears are streaming down my face.

Your friend is lucky to have you in her life and in this awful struggle.

You are both in my thoughts. Sending huge supportive hugs your way.

pinknest said...

i'm so sorry. :( we are all thinking of you and sending much love!!

Moobs said...

Oh Lord Pend, I am so sorry. It sounds odd to talk of your friend as lucky but she is lucky to have a friend like you and one day you will be glad you spent this time together.

Lisa said...

My heart hurts for you and Ingrid. I am so very, very sorry.

Gina said...

I wish you both strength in the journey ahead. You are a wonderful friend, I will keep you both in my prayers.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I'm so very sorry to hear this. I wish I had the kind of magic that is needed to make it go away.

My favorite cousin died of cancer in 1999; she was younger than I, and I felt so guilty besides having to bear the pain of losing her. I still miss her every day, and sometimes I talk to her when I'm alone.

I send you and Ingrid and your families much love and healing thoughts.

Grim Reality Girl said...

Still thinking of you. Still praying.

Ruth Dynamite said...

I weep with you, Pend, and feel so terribly sad. But all hope is not lost. I will do my part and wish Ingrid all the strength she can muster. Thinking of you.

MamaLee said...

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Mandy said...

I am so sorry you are going through this with your friend. You are so strong to be there and not cry, I could not do that. I wish I could reach out and give you a hug....

Momish said...

I cannot tell you how heart breaking it is to read this post. So beautiful, so sad, so deeply felt. I am so sorry for you and your friend. My thoughts are with you both.

Jill said...

Life's tedium makes us forget to treasure every moment. Thanks for the reminder.

mama_miga said...

You have such a beautiful way with words. I'm so sorry you're going through this right now.

bananas62 said...

tagging you dear friend! see my site

Leesa said...

You have been nominated for the Battle of the Blogs. Sorry this sounds "canned" because, well, this is canned. I have received lots of entries. I will be working on the ballots that will probably come out next Tuesday (2/27), but this is what I would like from you:

1. First: do you want your blog to be entered?
2. If you could, could you send me a brief (one paragraph) description of your site for me to include with a link to your URL (blog name). I am taking the names from the top of the blogs. Oh, and use the bloggerbattle(at)gmail.com.

You can use the link above to visit the Battle of the Blogs if you have no idea what this is. And, relax, it just means you are loved.

scribbit said...

I can't possibly adequately convey my sympathies but you're in my thoughts.

Kristin said...

Tears, Pendy... tears, tears, tears.

Mia said...

This was a beautiful way to show your love for your friend. What a gift, to have even one true friend like Ingrid and you as a true friend for her.
You are both in my prayers.

JLee said...

You don't cry in front of her because you are being strong for her...a good friend to lean on. You make her laugh, forget the fear and pain. I love the old man's attitude. I tend to worry, but we can't let fear keep us from getting where we need to go.

JLee said...

ps
I adore KD Lang. She has the voice of an angel!

urban-urchin said...

This terrifies me as much as it breaks my heart. You are a good friend, that's all you can be right now..

carrie said...

I hope the wisdom of the elderly man in the snow is with you forever Pendullum, really, I do.

Carrie

Lotta said...

Oh my goodness. That just breaks my heart!