Saturday, August 27, 2011


Is it coincidental that on the day Irene hits the U.S. coast, we had a hurricane come ashore right here at home? I've written in the past about the mood swings which have hit her due to the medications, and the challenges she has when things are out of a certain zone. When your personal health is going through dramatic negative changes, and you get health news which swings you from one end of the emotional spectrum to another - it is not surprising there is a need for stability. We have tried to accomplish that - but it is not possible to simply freeze things. I try to cocoon her as much as possible and create the time and space for her to feel comfortable - such as not scheduling things too early so she can move at her own pace to get ready in the morning.

At our home, we now have two young adults living with us, which is a good thing. They have made personal sacrifices to be here with their mom during this time, and it has definitely changed the trajectory of their lives, not for the good. So we have tried to accomodate their needs for personal space, to make this the best living arrangement possible. Given we have a large enough house, it was a matter of changing the function of certain rooms, and one significant change was for Meagan to move her studio to what was my old office. That was difficult for her - although she understood and supported it - nonetheless emotionally it felt like a statement was being made about moving her on.

Over the last while we have been following through on some of our earlier decisions, and that has involved some minor construction. Even though we have a fantastic contractor, who she likes very much, it is still disruptive, noisy at times, and can occur at inconvenient times. Such as when you are going through one of your emotional valleys. So this morning, we had some work going on and it triggered a pretty dramatic response. Of course reiterating the logic of it all was not helpful. Our expressions of empathy fell on deaf ears. I suppose it is almost impossible for us to feel how she is feeling, when what she wants is stability and her space, her home as she knows it, but what she is getting is change. And change is very hard for her right now - because it is a portent of things to come in her mind - it represents something else.

Even after Riley made a brilliant argument to her about how these changes were all about family (and not about the cancer per se or prepping the space in any way for "after"), and being able to be together better, and have space he needs and some common space that is more conducive to family movie watching - even though she knows it is true, it was still too much. And we are guys - we just can't deliver what she needs at times - even though some of us are going pretty far beyond our comfort zones.

Even though we can empathize and bend over backwards to support her - we cannot freeze things. Change does happen. It should happen. It's frustrating for us when she gets out of sorts at previously agreed to matters - even though we know it's because she has forgotten or the context has changed for her. Because of her state of mind, it is hard for her to empathize the other direction - the cancer sort of trumps all. We get it. But it is frustrating and as much as I would like to be a saint - it isn't always possible.

Cancer sucks.

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