Sunday, August 8, 2010

#246: George Bailey's Lament

I want my life back. That was my prayer yesterday. Alas, no angel to grant my wish, no bell ringing just yet.

If Saturday wasn't the worst day, it was certainly the worst so far. Started with retching and ended with tears. I don't know when I've wept so much and so hard. I am so tired of being sick. I want my life back. I don't want to puke any more. I don't want to eat through a tube or breathe through a hose. I want to be awake more than five hours a day. I want to chew something. Taste something. Walk a mile. Or ten. I want to go a day without needles and syringes. Give me my life back, Clarence.

It's a strange thing, crying. I went for years without doing it, certainly not without some great tragedy like the death of a family member. Now I weep at the drop of a hat. A kindness from a friend. A lovely movie. Or like yesterday, the frustration of not being in control of any damn thing in my life. I don't know what to do with these tears. Two things my father never taught me, how to fight with my wife and how to cry. I never remember him doing the first, and the only time I remember him crying was at my grandmother's funeral. He was a much more reserved man than I will ever be, and not much of a role model for how a 50-year-old man should behave when is so afraid of dying that all he can do is cry.

So I wept like a baby. I wept in my wife's arms and she sat bewildered and helpless with her arms around me. I wept as my mother stood by watching this grown man she had raised with tears and snot streaming down his swollen, toothless face. I guess I was feeling sorry for my self, but the tears had none of that guilty, self-indulgent feel that I usually associate with self-pity. Instead, I was grieving for the life I was afraid I was losing. Weeping for the hopes that might not come to pass. I have never felt death so near as I did yesterday, and I was scared of him. I don't want to go yet. I have too much to do. Too many roles to play. Too many trips to take with Mrs. P. Too many "Thank You's" and "I Love You's" to say.

Finally I prayed the prayer I've been afraid to say for all these weeks. "Oh, God. Please don't make me sick any more." Yes, I blame God for all this. I blame him for thinking up cancer in the first place. I blame him for every trip to the bathroom. Every breathless gasp. I try to forgive him. I want to make peace, but the truth is that I can't help feeling that my best friend has betrayed me. He's making me sick and I'm afraid he's going to let me die. I don't know what to do with these feelings. I'm not sure what I'd counsel someone who came to me with them. My dad would have said that I need to have more faith than that. I have to trust that God's plan is at work. I know he's right, but what's happening just feels so wrong.

Tears seem like the only possible response, at least they did yesterday. Today I feel a little more in control of myself. Isn't that what you're supposed to do? "Get a hold of yourself!" I'm calm today. Of course, I haven't been sick today, either. I have a script that I'm reading. Still learning my way around the iPad. Just finished Pride and Prejudice. I'm not without projects. I have things to occupy my time. But still...

I want my life back, Clarence. I want to live. I want to live...



Images from Hank's Eclectic Meanderings and The Dancing Image.


  1. Thinking of and praying for you, Bob.....

  2. I hate all this for you!!! I want your life back FOR YOU! You ARE, not the life you would prefer, but there is beauty in clarity if given it only for a moment. And until I know otherwise, WE are going to HELP u LIVE during this crappy crap, dagnabbit. What u are going thru is something I cannot understand (in theory perhaps.) SO, in the meantime, know we love u...we r rooting for u...and are sending u joy, and vibes and prayers for RELIEF. OH, and here is a little song link I think you may enjoy



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