Not Okay

4_26_11.jpgI remember using the words "not okay" with Grayson when he was little to teach him that something was wrong. I'm not sure why we used "not okay" instead of "bad" or "wrong" - but I'm sure it was in tune with the current kinder gentler way of teaching kids right from wrong. For whatever reason the phrase has stuck with me, and I've used it since then on many occasions. 

Over the past five-ish years I've wanted so much to respond that I'm "not okay" when asked the "how ARE you" question....Most of the time I did the kinder thing and lied, "fine" was the rehearsed answer. These days the "how ARE you" question never happens. I really am fine, most of the time at least. 

The past few days I have not been fine. I've really been not okay. Not for the expected reasons - dead husband, only parent, too much work. This time it's cancer that has me feeling off kilter. The father of a friend from work was diagnosed with cancer two weeks ago. He went from a reasonably healthy 60ish cancer survivor who was feeling a bit under the weather and having some pain to an invalid receiving a death sentence and hospice care in a matter of two weeks. He was running a business and planning his retirement. Now, with the help of his son, he is planning his death. 

A friend from work was diagnosed in October with the same cancer as Daniel. It was further along by the time it was diagnosed, and he was at M.D. Anderson within days. Flash forward through life altering surgery, very painful radiation and gut wrenching chemo followed by a heart attack. Mike passed away on Good Friday. He was 60 years old, just about to enjoy his retirement with his wife of 41 years. 

You don't have to tell me that death happens to everyone and that the older I get the less surprised I should be when it happens to people I know. I get it. I've lived it. What I still find appalling is cancer. With all of the medical advances we've made, we can't beat this stuff. It creeps in quietly and it takes our lives away. Not in a single stroke though. That would be too humane. Cancer takes away our ability to enjoy the time we have left. And if the disease doesn't make you feel awful enough, the treatment is enough to make you wish you were dead. Cancer sucks your bank accounts dry, saps your joy, kills your dreams and the dreams of those left behind. Cancer scares the shit out of me and I am not okay with it. Not one bit. I'm so sick of hearing of the devastation left in cancer's path that I want to scream. 

I'll be attending Mike's funeral this afternoon. I'll have to welcome another poor person into our unfortunate club. It's tragic and I'm not okay with it. Cancer sucks.

- Michelle D.

The goal for the Widow's Voice Blog team is to provide you with a good variety of perspectives on the challenges, and the triumphs, of life as a widowed person. With that goal in mind, I am pleased to announce that I will be sharing Tuesdays with Chris Weaver (who has guest posted for me recently). Chris is a fellow Texan and widowed person who also lost his spouse to cancer. He will formally introduce himself to you next week, but I wanted to thank him in advance for his willingness to share his journey with us. Thanks Chris. I look forward to your upcoming blogs!


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