Day 54 – The Last Birthday
Today is the eve of my 42nd birthday. I wish I was sitting here happy but instead I have tears streaming down my face (I’m not sure there is a single day when I don’t weep silently to myself). The tears came today because I know this could possibly be the last birthday that I share with Sean. I am super positive about Sean’s outcome, and his cancer numbers are looking so good, but the reality is, this fight is still just beginning. There is so much more to do. We will continue to fight but even with all the good news, the tears still come. Even coming close to 60 days in to the cancer diagnosis, it’s still hard to come to grips with.
And that’s what I wanted to write about. The shouldn’t I’s. Shouldn’t I be feeling relief? Shouldn’t I be less stressed? Shouldn’t I not cry anymore? Shouldn’t I be sleeping easily? Shouldn’t I be less exhausted? Shouldn’t I? Shouldn’t I? Shouldn’t I? So many questions run around in my head all the time.
There are no right answers to these questions because there is no right way to grieve or get through something like cancer. I sleep okay most nights but some nights I can’t sleep at all. I feel relief at Sean’s cancer marker numbers but then I think about the next set of tests. I destress with Sean snuggling on the sofa but stress over making sure papers are signed, medications are called in and bills are paid. I laugh over silly jokes Sean tells but cry over losing the love of my life.
This has been the hardest thing I have ever faced in my life. Being raped and molested as a child, to the point of never being able to have children, doesn’t even come close to the sadness that I have felt these past 60 days. That situation I could handle because Sean was with me but this…I don’t even know how to explain it. It’s just hard. Like throw your phone across the room because you can’t take it anymore, hard.
It’s not sadness all the time. It comes in waves. One moment I can be so happy buying a Dairy Queen birthday cake and the next I am sitting here watching Survivor and I can’t stop crying. Why was I crying over Survivor? Well, this past episode was the family episode. The episode where the contestants get to see their loved ones. This whole scene is pretty emotional by itself but for me, this really hit home. It hit me that there is a possibility that one day, sooner than I would like, I won’t have a loved one to call on. That was it for me and I have been crying since. It’s funny how a simple show can evoke so much emotion.
And this is how it has been for me. At a moment’s notice, I see something or hear a song and it instantly takes me to a place that Sean isn’t in. These thoughts (I call them nightmares) creep in to my mind without me wanting them there. Nightmares of funerals. Nightmares of coffins. Nightmares of loneliness. Nightmares about everything. So many nightmares.
Again, this whole thing has been really hard. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t expecting a walk in the park, just go get a flu shot, easy peasy time. No, I expected things to be difficult. Just not this difficult. I didn’t expect to dream about burying my husband. I didn’t expect to dream about writing a eulogy. I didn’t expect to dream about complete sadness. But that has been happening. Some days the nightmares are so strong that I don’t want to go to sleep. The only way I sleep is with Sean giving me a back massage. The feeling of his touch on my back soothes me enough to let my mind shut off for just a second. And how awesome is that. Here’s Sean fighting the hardest battle of his life and he is giving me a back massage. He is truly the yin to my yang. He understands me without me even saying a word. He just knows.
So tomorrow I turn 42. I will celebrate with Sean and I will enjoy every moment of my ice cream cake. I know in my heart that there will be 40 more ice cream cakes in the future and that is what will continue to push me through the tears and hard times. This fight has just started and I’ll be damned if I let it end now. We have so many places to explore and things to do together.
So this is a word from 42 year old Stef to 43 year old Stef: Stef, I don’t know what the future holds. My hope is that Sean is standing next to you and you are looking up into his eyes. I hope that you are holding hands together, in some country looking at something really cool (if you think it’s a museum, it definitely is one, lol). If by some chance you are standing alone, know that you are not alone. Sean is still holding your hand and will be holding your hand forever. Never forget that Sean is a part of you and will be there, even if he is not. His love for you will always shine around you forever and always! ♥️