This journey we are on has taken us many places, both in the physical sense and metaphorical. Today it seems as though a new issue is exploding inside this ever churning brain of mine, leaving me scrambling, and ducking for cover. No man ever wants this problem, nothing good can come from it.
It is the feeling of being torn between two loves.
My wife, this woman for whom my world revolves, a center to all my affection. She has unwittingly become 50% of who I am, what I have become and, ultimately what I will be remembered for after perishing, leaving this earth behind. When she is around I can’t get anything done for the overwhelming feeling of needing to be by her side. Now with Leukemia, that feeling has magnified and being by her side, caring for her is all-consuming, my hearts contentment.
Learning the Leukemia dance (two steps towards a hospital, one step towards our home) The leukemia dance is a funny little number. Slow and steady like an 80’s love song, crooning across a roller rink, grab your best girl and don’t fall down, couples only on the floor, couples ONLY on the floor please. Then broken and angry with failure forcing you to mosh into the pit of despair while Godsmack beats down upon you! When you least expect it you find yourself doing a happy dance, joyous news brings the B-52’s tapping at your door. But in the end all I hear anymore isn’t music to my ears, but the constant beat of a heart monitor telling me she is alive. The quiet sounds of her breathing while I stare, awake, not wanting to miss a moment, standing guard, like century, evil shall not pass.
Our children. They need me as well and even though they seem to be handling the last 50 days just fine, I know deep inside they must be worrying. None of them really know how to talk about what is happening with Leukemia, our family and the new dynamics, but this is what I have observed. The oldest is treating Leukemia with a bit of denial; as in “oh yeah mom came home from the hospital today it’s all good”. Next in line the 13-year-old asks a myriad of questions in regards to moms health, how long it will take to get better, reassurances she will get better and what can he do to help! Our 9-year-old daughter has taken to reminding me to tell mom she loves her over and over and over and over. The 8-year-old on the other hand is pretty much in a world of his own and thankfully doesn’t comprehend or wish to comprehend any of what is currently happening. Lego’s are king!
Either way they are four beings, four souls, four of the most important people in my world and instead of being able to give to them emotionally, unconditionally as a father, right now I am taking from them at every turn and corner throughout the day. They have all stepped up their game. Chores, school, packing lunches, cleaning the kitchen, doing laundry, helping with the ranch, it’s really quite nice seeing these little versions of ones self working hard together towards a common goal. Now don’t get me wrong it isn’t the Walton’s (you younger ones look that up! You might find an episode on TV land) going on over here by any means, they still fight like cats and dogs, which in brother and sister land is how it should be, but it is nice to see the effort non the less.
So how am I torn?
These are the two loves of my life. My wife and my children. I must give to my wife first and foremost, but the need to nurture my children is every bit as strong. It is a dilemma which has no answer. A challenge or conundrum if you will. This feeling of utter helplessness as a father of needing to be in two places at once. Forming the solid foundation for four while building upon a marital foundation of two.
In the end it will all be fine. We will arise from the proverbial ashes, stronger and better than ever. Our children will hopefully learn in a positive way how to handle family struggles while relying upon one another for support and strength. Our marriage (Jacy and I) will grow and develop an even stronger bond through our faith and love for one another. These are all positive things! Maybe I should just quit worrying? I guess sometimes you need to be torn to learn how to mend? hmmm sounds like a future Words of Wisdom from Betty’s alter ego.