Saturday, March 24, 2012

Finding Hope in Chapters

Sometimes life feels surreal. I'll be walking, feeling the sunshine on my face and in that moment of happiness it's like someone runs up and punches me in the stomach. You know that feeling when you get the wind knocked out of you?? Sometimes it's just a little jab to my gut, other times it's like Jon died all over again and all I can do is try to take deep breaths. Those moments come on all of a sudden, usually without trigger or warning. I wonder if it will always be this way.

I have happy moments. I find them in small things, and I cherish them. I cherish the people around me who bring on those happy moments. But I feel everything so much. I guess I've always been that way. Cry hard, love hard.

Several months into our relationship, I started writing our story down. Jonathan loved to read the new chapters, even though some parts were difficult. My hope is to one day finish the story... although the ending is not what either of us had imagined. A lot of it has already been said one way or another in my blogs, but to have it all in its entirety would be a real accomplishment for me. For now, here is an excerpt from Chapters 10 & 11:

"When I thought about our future together, cancer never factored into my plans. Let me explain. I knew there was of course a possibility that his cancer could somehow alter our future in some way. I had accepted that it would be a part of our relationship -- a large part. And although I had moments where the fear crept into my mind, I never really believed it would change us. I refused to give it that power. I thought of the Nightmare on Elmstreet movies and how if the teenagers stopped believing in Freddy Kreuger, that would take away his energy and he would no longer be able to hurt them. I knew cancer's immense strength, it's sneaky tricks, its ability to ruin lives... but I refused to believe in its power over my Jonathan and our life together. I turned my back on it. I refused to capitalize it in a sentence. My focus was entirely on beating it. I never for a second doubted our relationship's strength... i knew we could face anything together. We had faced difficult times already and I was not naive enough to think we'd seen the last of those hard times. But it never worried me. I worried about Jonathan..about what he might go through, but I never questioned the outcome, or feared for his life or the durability of our partnership.

What I constantly feared was Jonathan's own belief. His positive attitude remained one of the most admirable things about him, but I feared that deep down he might somehow allow the negative thoughts to seep in. I was afraid that all that he'd been through, in addition to the poor scan results and long road ahead might break him down. I was terrified that he would tell me he believed he would beat this thing but that he'd really be seeing question marks. It had taken me a long time to get him to plan things further than 1 week in advance... and he had started to see a future for himself. I didnt want anything to take that away from him. In my mind, if he questioned, even for a second, it would give power to this disease. I never asked for him to say he'd live forever, but I fought hard to make sure he never saw a time limit. We both were unsure of what the future would hold as most people were, but when he said forever, I wanted him to think...know...that his forever could be and would be just as long as anyone else's.

His feelings for me were always clear when I looked into his eyes. It just took him a little longer than it took me to give into them, and for him to believe that I felt the same. I fought hard to break down the walls he had worked so diligently to put up. It's what I do.

The first time he told me he loved me, we were laying in bed in my apartment. We had just shut the light and television and were getting into spooning position when he traced three words with his fingers on my back. Taken by surprise, it took me a few tries to figure out what he was writing. Probably not how he expected it to go. But I will never forget that moment when I realized what he was saying. It was like everything I ever wanted was handed to me in a matter of ten seconds. He loved me. What more could I possibly ask for?"

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