February 17, 2011
The American Cancer Society asked me to write an additional post for the More Birthdays campaign. (I was supposed to write one more, next month, and that was it.) I suppose I can assume this means they've been happy with the response so far and you guys have been clicking over and retweeting and like-buttoning or whatever the hell it is you youngsters do these days with your Internets and smartyphones and...and...
What was I talking about? I got distracted by some deep thoughts about prunes.
Oh! Right. Another post for ACS. Another look at a topic that should inspire at least a dozen entries from me on any given day, eleven of which are all but guaranteed to make a significant portion of the Internet cry. Or at least, lie about crying in my comments section. Don't think I don't know you do that. (And don't think that I don't love you for it.)
But oh. I'm tired of it. It hurts like a bruise, and some days just thinking about it feels the same a swift kick from pointy shoes.
My dad...well. Things are about the same. He still believes he'll be able to continue chemo, somehow. And that the chemo will work. Meanwhile, I've learned more about what late-stage leukemia does to the human body than I ever, EVER wanted to know.
When he first got the cancer diagnosis, back in September, the prognosis was three to six months. We're currently five months into that range, and I hate -- hatehatehate -- the fact that things seem to be moving along, like morbid clockwork, right on their horrible schedule.
So instead, I've started shopping.
I've bought onesies and rompers. Everything in bright, summery colors and patterns. Impossibly tiny cloth diapers and sun hats. Teething toys, pacifiers and an infant bathtub. Swaddling blankets and lightweight nursing covers. My Amazon cart is littered with stuff "saved for later" that I know we don't need, but I will probably buy anyway. Because it's small and cute and it makes me smile.
I've entered his name into sample birth announcement templates, just because seeing it all typed out and real makes me ridiculously happy. Those are saved for later, of course. We'll need his photo and birthdate/weight specifics. And we'll have those soon...in about three and a half months.
I've stopped wondering if that's soon enough. I've stopped doing the gap math, the subtraction. I've stopped fretting over the potential lack of overlap, the idea that he won't be here when the baby is born, even though it was never promised to us, beyond just HOPE and MAYBE and YOU NEVER KNOW.
There may be loss -- a specific, profound loss. But there will definitely be life, and another birthday.
I'm excited for sure. And also: Hopeful. Maybe. And you never know.