My last post I asked you to cross a few fingers for me as I went into hospital for six days to have Dr. Chung remove half my liver and its six metastatic lesions; The last of the tumors that were trying to kill me. It all went to shit. They took too much liver and cut into the biliary tree, resulting in my remaining liver spewing bile into my abdominal cavity rather than duodenum where it belongs. I spent nearly half the Summer in a hospital bed and I am writing from hospital now while they try to find some way to stem the flow.
I’ve been home a few times for a few days or a week or two, recovering slowly with a drain hose protruding from my back in the most uncomfortable position they could possibly have chosen. In those weeks I have begun writing this post in my head at least a dozen times. It is overwhelming. Not because of the sheer volume of subjects I could cover, or the daunting expanse of time I feel it should cover, but because one particular lesson keeps overshadowing all of the rest. Something I never thought I would share with you. Something private and personal. At once a breakthrough and a breakdown.
I’ve never considered myself a macho man or a tough guy, but I believe I’ve been emotionally strong and resilient. I’ve needed to be. There have been difficult times in my life. Grief and loss far too early. A lot of it left unresolved.
A lot of my pain and sorrow accumulated over the years tucked away in little corners of my psyche just to be glanced at periodically to be compared with each other; never really examined for any sort of closure.
I have lived with the fundamental erroneous belief that painful events need to be ranked appropriately to determine how I should respond to each. If I didn’t cry at my father’s funeral when I was fourteen, it would be wrong to cry at my mother’s a year later. The result, of course, is that there is no loss, pain or grief great enough for me to shed a tear over. Is it more worthy than all those other closeted sorrows?
Intellectually, the wrong is clear to me. Naturally, any life event that triggers any level of emotional response is independently worthy of that response just by virtue of the fact that it is there; it triggered the response. That’s all simple enough on an intellectual level. I’ve still got some work to do when it comes to letting that stuff out.
For good or bad, my lengthy hospitalization and the pain, frustration and fear that came as the free gift with purchase was, I hope, the last time I compare today’s grief with the ones in cold storage to see if the emotions I want to feel are, in fact, warranted. I will always remember the evening it all snapped; when that final straw was loaded on my hump.
Sometime in late August, I found myself curled up in the arms of my loving wife and crying like a small child, sobbing, “I just wanna go home”. There was no comparing this day to any other. There was no questioning, no analysis, no rating. I thought I was broken.
In reality, I think I had just begun to heal.
Whether it was a breakdown or a breakthrough, or both, that day changed my life and will change the way I look at life events of all kinds, forever.
I’m going to return to the day-to-day posts now. I won’t be attempting to reconstruct the last three months for this blog. No words that I could string together would carry a fraction of the meaning for me as those five I shared with the one person who has been there unconditionally for me every day. It is because she is there for me that “I just wanna go home”.