Last month, Chris spent six days in the wonderful hospice in Inverness. He went for a "fine tuning" of his meds and to just give him a change of scene for a little while. It gave us both a time to think about what is happening, and it made it all a little more real. He came home refreshed, but with the knowledge that now we are facing no more than two or three months. It is surreal, it is weird, and it is heartbreaking.
Chris is very tired now. He rests up most days in the bedroom - or, as he calls it, his sanctuary. I am more often than not with him there. We sit or lie, often silently, on the bed. We hold hands and we drink in each other's presence. I study the lines in his face, the hills and valleys of his profile, feel the softness of arms. At night, I often lie awake, my hand gently on his chest, feeling the beat of his heart and the rise and fall of his breath...knowing that someday not too far in the distance, it is going to stop. The thought terrifies me.
While he is here, we are doing all we can to just be with each other. He often says that he likes being in the same room with me. My internal response is always, 'Then don't leave me - ever!" There are days the tears won't stop and days I feel numb. I know Chris feels the same way.
His abdominal pain is being better controlled by his meds, now. His nausea is manageable. He sleeps well, but he feels as if he is, in his words, "winding down."
I would give everything in the world to change our fate. A dear friend of my daughter's just gave birth to her first baby. She said what we all feel when we hold our firstborns for the first time, that she had never realised the depth with which one is capable of loving another human being. The same can be said about the other side of life. It isn't until we know we are going to lose someone we love - or we lose them - that we realise how much we love them. I know how much I love Chris - I've always known, from the first moment that I realised that he would be the greatest love of my life. For Valentine's Day, I posted my favourite photo of him, along with words from "My Funny Valentine" - "You make me smile with my heart." And I sometimes wonder if I will ever smile again. I will try and I most probably will with all the memories I have stored up. But it will take time. For now, it is one day at a time and making the most of what we have left.
To Chris, I say I love you more than you will ever know. To cancer, I unapologetically say, fuck you.