Living With Cancer

The pain never leaves your body ,it is embedded in the deepest recesses of yourself. Places you thought so sacred, even the closest of humans who was not given access to is ravaged.

The most painful thing in having  cancer is not the falling hair, the pain or the prospect of death. It is in the sense of being violated ,not being whole anymore. 

She was alone ,refusing to share her loneliness or pain with anyone else. It was a fact that she had a live in nurse and her parents and siblings were just a phone call away. But nothing was same anymore. 

She had been in love ,before this devastating diagnosis. So very much in love ,with her whole world planned, documented up to the extent of the middle name she would like to have for her first granddaughter. She would have liked to have her called Lisa ,Lisa being her middle name. To have Lisa resemble her would be added  bonus. 

Now nothing of her elaborate plan would come true, except perhaps a grave stone bearing the name ,Lisa. She had tried to initiate a discussion with her mother of how she would like to be dressed for her final farewell and what did she wanted to be inscribed in her gravestone.    

But her mother would not hear anything about Lisa’s death. Please ,spare me child ,she would plead with Lisa. This is too much for me already. Please forgive me child. Lisa  could sense the air of desperation and she hugged her mother. For a moment the absurdity of what was happening struck her. She the one to whom a fatal diagnosis was handed over, is the one consoling others.  

Her sister was much braver ,she marvelled at her sister’s transformation. Her little sister who fought bitterly for their mothers attention ,who was inconsolable even when a pet squirrel died , she was doing her best to make the remaining days of her sister serene and joyful.

She made it a point to drop in at least once in two days to visit her elder sister .She  was preparing for the highly competitive high school examination, but no one in the family were in the proper senses to inquire as if why she was not at school or studying.

The younger sister devised different little things to humour her elder sister. She would study some phrases of a foreign  language and would teach her elder sister to speak in some obscure language.  They would watch films together and weep their eyes out for lovers who always were parted in death ,war or some other misfortune.

Neither of them thought it was absurd that they were watching stories of love which was never consumed.  They were crying not so much for the lost lovers,  they were shedding tears for the years  they will never get to watch films together.

There father scarcely visited the daughter’s bachelor pad, he was thourgly against his daughter’s decision to leave her parental home. She was already at college and was living alone ,he accepted, but this was a different situation. 

He finally relented when his younger daughter sided with his elder daughter. He couldn’t comprehend this he told more to himself than to his audience of his two daughters, young son and tearful wife. What hurt him most was the fact that no one opposed this seemingly horrendous decision of this sick child.

His wife stood mute, tears streaming down her eyes. His son was too young to understand,  but the father had expected him to cling on to his elder sister to whom he was the closest. Only  silence prevailed except for his wife’s almost inaudible weeping.

I am leaving daddy,  you can visit me anytime. I will come to see you off , the younger sister replied.

Only when his two daughters had disappeared in to the dark night ,that he remembered that he could have volunteered to go with his daughters.  He was too shocked that he almost could not comprehend what transpired at that given moment. 

What if he was not a good father? He broke into cold sweat despite the heat of the hot summer night

He had always prided himself in being a good father and a husband. He ensured that his children were never in want of anything. His wife who had a illustrious career as a performing artist had given up her passion to raise a family with him. Initially even though it was he who  insisted that she stayed at home later own when he encouraged her to go back she was not interested. 

She didn’t feel welcome amidst the younger more sophisticated ones , she told him. Even then she missed home and children, that she returned back when he managed to secure for her though his contacts some performance opportunities. 

He had of course insisted that his children studied well ,but he was never hash. Didn’t he relent when his elder  daughter insisted that she would study English literature despite his aspirations to see her becoming a doctor.

Now when his heart was bleeding for her , when the one thing he wanted to do was hug her and keep her secure in his arms so that no outside force , no man,  disease no power could hurt her how could she leave him ? 

Didn’t she know that for every ripple of pain coursing through her delicate ,waif like  frame waves of pain was racking havoc within him.

What puzzles him most was his wife’s seemingly cold forbearance. She wept in silence and he was pained by this. Why didn’t she include him in her grief ,he had usually thought of wife as a weak woman. He was dazzled by her beauty and her innocence when he first met her.

But there were instances during his 20 something years of marriage that he had wished that he had married some one of sterner character ,some one who could fend for oneself.  

But her new transformation equally puzzled him and hurt him.Appraently  she was coping well with this devastation, she went on with daily chores as if nothing happened, the only evidence of her grieving was her bleary eyes in the morning and rather subdued tone. You would have though that she was grieving a lost cat, not facing the imminent loss of a favourite child. 

He wanted to yell at his wife , all of them to include him in their grief. He wanted them to tell him where to find sustenance ,where to find the fortitude they were displaying and not to leave him to his own devices. 

For once he would have liked to return to an untidy house , to partake a delivery dinner huddled together without a care weather the food tasted too salty or of too much preservatives.

But he was returning to   a neat and tidy home , an elaborate laid out dinner which was stifling and almost inhuman  un its attention to detail.

Was she fleeing from this obsession to detail, is she equally hurt that nobody seemed to care enough to stop the routine ? 

If was his younger daughter who walk him up and accompanied him to his bed. He found his wife already asleep crouched in a corner of the  massive bed. He was angry at  her that she could be sleeping with two of her children being lost , one to the wilderness of an unknown disease and the other to inscrutable fortitude and silence. 

But he could see that she hadn’t change to her sleeping attire,  it was likely that she dropped out of  pure exhaustion. He silently allowed his daughter to tuck him in bed ,silently marvelling at her. 

She knew through extensive reserch that her life expectancy would be anything less than two years. 

Two years could be so short but so long at the same time. She had known Kevin for two years , but the first day they talked to each other was etched in her memory as if it was yesterday. 

Her younger brother was 10 years and she marvelled at how tall he had grown. He had transformed from a shy , cry baby to a confident young man. He admired her younger brother’s calm and composed demeanour more than anything else today.  

Was she thinking straight when she thought of living alone after being diagnosed with cancer ? Yes , she had decided to make peace with herself , to do everything she wanted to do , albeit in a  minuscular way before she would fall pray to the gnawing vices of cancer which she knew was ravaging inside her body. She loved her parents , all the same , but she knew that out of care and compassion for her they would prevent her from being hurt. She wanted to experiment,  experience life with the risk of getting hurt and disillusioned ,but to never have second thoughts of it. 

She got to know about a traditional healer from a friend, her oncologist was against any sort of traditional medicine, she promised him she would abide the treatment schedule, but she would like to experience this new form of treatment. 

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