Wednesday, October 15, 2014

How Do You Do It?

So it begs the question. How do you pull your shit together, drive home, look at your kids, lie about their dad, and go back to the hospital?

You just do it. You have to. I'm so tired of people saying, "How do you do it? I have no idea how you're acting normal. I wouldn't be able to do that."

Well, here's your update: You. Just. Do. It. Some do-gooder said, "You DO have the choice to not go on." Hmph. Guess what, dummy? I don't. I have never entertained the idea of not going on. Shutting down. Calling it quits. Throwing up the white flag. Nope. That's just not who I am and I refuse to give in to the tide that tries to overtake me every minute of every day. I refuse to give my sons the impression that Richie dying is going to beat us, drive us into the ground, destroy our lives. Do I FEEL like that sometimes? Fucking absolutely. However, I will not allow cancer to not only take my husband from us but also steal our lives.

That night, I went home, packed up clothes for Richie in his  hospital room, and grabbed his CPAP machine. I lied to Robert and told him that there was only some medicine that can be given to his father in the hospital but that he would be home. It wasn't a lie at the time. I was certain Richie was going to die but just as sure that he would come home and be able to live for a while. In my head, I'd already thought that we'd have six months. In retrospect, that seems like a lifetime of opportunities for us to talk, laugh, hug, and love each other. I had no idea what we were truly up against; neither did his oncology team.

I recall that night at home with bursts of clarity. I lied to Robert and told him D needed to talk with me privately because he'd had a bad day. My friend was with me. She'd followed me home that night after I'd lost my shit in the hospital parking lot. She and Robert went outside so I could talk with D. My D. Basically abandoned by his mother and father. How was I going to tell him that we were going on an unscheduled roller coaster ride through hell? Just because he's strong and resilient doesn't mean that I wanted him to show his depth of courage and toughness.

When you look up at a young man who is over six feet tall and hovers at around 300lbs, it's sometimes difficult for people to remind themselves that the young man is really a child. D had never seen me cry more than a few tears. Sure. I cried at his graduation. Happy tears. Crying through laughter. This though? This was different. This was odd. I told him through tears that Richie had cancer and that it was bad. He was a silent, immovable wall in front of me for a moment until he quietly asked, "But he's going to be ok." And this is where my body had a visceral reaction to the truth I'd utter to him. "No. He's not going to be ok. He's going to die." I don't want to think that I gave up on my Richie. I was ready to fight. Yet, I've always been a blunt straight-shooter. Nothing that presents itself that quickly is going away. One of my proudest moments is the fact that D was able and willing to comfort me while I cried in his arms. I remember apologizing to him because I'd never allowed him to see me truly lose it. 


  1. you are the best person I are good and kind and have a heart as big as my were a great wife and the best mother I will get thru this because you don't have a's who you are..when you all come down for Westfest I'm going to hug you for a you..js

  2. It's truly a blessing our children. Born to us and adopted by us. I want in on the hug fest...Love you both.