I haven’t written in a while. I’ve tried. I really have. I’ve spent countless minutes sitting in front of a blank page, willing the words to come to help me deal with the cluster that is life with Stage 4 cancer. And nothing comes.
I’ve spent hours in pickup lines and parking lots, waiting for school/basketball/playdates to be over with, mentally composing and deleting dozens of blog posts. Funny lines drift in and out of my head, but putting pen to paper (keyboard to internet?) erases it all.
Perhaps I’m having so much trouble writing about the cancer because I spend a lot of time pretending I don’t have it.
Lots of folks ask me how I’m doing over the course of a day. My response is almost always “I’m fabulous.”
Fabulous? I’m fabulous?
I’m a freakin’ liar is what I am. I am so far from fabulous I couldn’t find it with my Waze app, a telescope and a Sherpa.
Scared, nauseated, fatigued, depressed, terrified, guilty, grief-stricken – I could write a book filled with nothing but the negative emotions that I’m trying very hard to ignore. But putting them in a blog post or answering the “how are you doing” question that is almost always now accompanied by a sympathetic head tilt? That all hits a little too close to home. Unless I spend time with my new best friend – denial.
Denial shields me from worry, protects me from the negative emotions and allows me to cut off sympathetic head tilts before they turn into tears.
Unfortunately, denial as a coping mechanism is not fool proof. Witness the Christmas season and the pressure parents feel to make it all so magical.
Then imagine that you don’t know how many Christmases you have left and the backbreaking pressure to make this Christmas the Best!!! Christmas!!! Ever!!!
Pressure kicks Denial’s ass every time.
Ordinarily, I love Christmas. I start playing Christmas music the day after Halloween, I own hundreds of Hallmark Keepsake ornaments and Rankin and Bass are my heroes. I love sharing Christmas specials and holiday traditions with my kids. What I don’t love is not knowing how many more times we’re going to decorate a tree together or fight over who gets to put Baby Jesus in the Nativity set manger or sing Wham’s “Last Christmas” together.
Denial keeps that bitch “Ugly Cry” from taking hold and not letting go. But Pressure likes to keep Ugly Cry on speed dial just in case I get too comfortable and let thoughts of what Christmas will be like as a grandparent creep in. And Pressure wants homemade Christmas cookies and a perfectly decorated tree and thousands of dollars’ worth of presents under the tree or she will invite Ugly Cry for a sleepover that will last until Valentine’s Day.
I hate that bitch Ugly Cry.
So my friend Denial and I are going to continue to sit here, telling everyone we’re fabulous, freebasing Christmas cookies and fantasizing about what Christmas as a grandparent is going to be like. Just let Pressure and Ugly Cry try to stop me.