Writing makes me stronger. I need that tonight. There are dozens of images, emotional memories, and fears flashing through my brain. The ptsd I battle is always at its worst right before a chemotherapy session. I suppose it’s because I see him in the chemo chair at Hancock Regional Hospital. I see and remember everything from John’s illness… always.
As we approach Sis’s second chemotherapy treatment, the emotional memories of the fear, desperation, and loss consume me in ways I can not control. I have, however, learned how to fight my way through the ptsd episodes. I have been doing it for 4 1/2 years.
Step 1 is always to acknowledge the validity of the emotions. I watched my husband of 19 months die from cancer after a 14 month battle. I was by his side when he took his last breath and when his heart stopped beating. I watched as they took his body from our home and all the horrible, horrible things that followed. Yes, the intense emotions are valid.
Step 2 is to grieve the pain. John left me here. I turned my entire life upside down to be his wife, and then he left me here to figure out the rest of my life without him. I miss him everyday. On the bad days, I want to snuggle next to him and hide my face in his neck. I want us to go for a long, country drive until life is peaceful again. I need us to hang out at home in our pj’s not caring what is happening in the rest of the world.
Step 3 is to be purposeful about being in the present. Today that was lunch out and grocery shopping with Sis, a chiropractic appointment to keep my body as strong as possible, and time with my junior handyman working on my yard.
Staying present is key to combatting the ptsd. It’s also one of the hard parts. My sister is sick, on constant pain killers, and fighting a disease that has taken the lives of people we all love, including my husband. That is a pretty hard reality to stay present in.
I truly believe deep within me that we will get her through this and back into remission. That’s not what is forefront in my mind tonight though.
He left me here. Please don’t leave me too. I won’t survive it.