|My dad, helping his youngest granddaughter across a rocky path, just weeks before his diagnosis|
Sunday, October 20, 2013
It always feels strange to have something significant going on in my life that people around me aren’t aware of. I’m sure that’s true for most people; one common example of this is when it’s a person’s birthday and most of the people with whom he or she crosses paths that day don’t know that it is. Whether it’s something good or bad, oftentimes it seems like the information just isn’t comfortable or appropriate or relevant enough to share. In many cases, I think it would feel awkward, somehow attention-seeking or maybe even like bragging, to tell the people around me, and in some cases I don’t really even want them to know for various reasons – but it still feels odd, as if I am driving on a side street or an access road alongside the main highway.
That’s how it feels to me going into the week that marks three years from the time my life – and essentially my perspective and my bearings – shifted, the week that holds the series of days during which my dad was taken to the hospital by ambulance, when we found out about the mass in his head, when he had surgery, when we got the definitive diagnosis – and his 67th birthday which we spent hunkered down in the Neuro-ICU, in shock and in terror.
There is such a maelstrom of emotions and thoughts going on in my head right now, a source of confusion that makes it difficult to know how to identify my feelings or what needs to be done to get me through the time ahead, by me or by anyone else. Over and over, I wonder in shock how a span of three years has passed already. I wonder how we got through those days that seem even more unbelievably difficult from my perspective now than they did at the time. I wonder when each of the series of shifts in me occurred after that first shift – and when, if ever, the process will slow down or come to a halt. I wonder whether it is better to try to forget about the panic and the pain of the days of my dad's illness or to let the remaining sadness and the swirl of other emotions that goes along with the anniversary of that first week play out; I wonder if sharing my feelings and my perspective is the right thing to do.
Remembering what was happening at this exact time three years ago is oddly both grounding and disconcerting. Thinking back about what my dad and the rest of my family were doing in the weeks and the days leading up to the beginning of the trauma, it was as if we were on an airplane right before the plane hit an air pocket causing a sudden drop. In regards to the significance for me of the upcoming days, a lot like the people around me now, back then I had no idea that a shift was happening, that something was occurring in those days that was affecting someone close to me and that would eventually change everything.