Well I’m supposed to be sharing my journey with you, warts and all, so I should tell you about something not so up and positive that happened last night. Something that just about broke my heart.
Connor (our youngest, 14) came into my workroom around 8pm and asked if it was possible for us to go on holiday to the US. The conversation went something like this:
Me: “Hmmm, we had wanted to but there’s a few problems with that now.”
Connor: “I thought it would cost too much.”
Me: “Well, it’s not just how much it costs to go, but with the additional bits your mamma now has, such as this metal port, airport security isn’t going to be a walk in the park, esp in the US. Then there’s the insurance. It would cost more for my insurance alone than the rest of the trip put together because of having the cancer.”
Connor: “We could go when that goes away.”
Silence. In that second I realized Connor didn’t understand the implications of what we have been talking about and my heart just about broke. I thought we had been clear about the situation. Apparently not.
Connor: “It will gt o away, I mean eventually right and we could go then.”
Me: “Do you want me to tell you the truth about what is happening?”
Connor: “Yes. Of course.”
Me: “We will fight it every way we can, but it’s not going to go away, baby. Not ever. They can try to contain it. They can try to reduce it. But they can’t cure this type of cancer at this stage. Not yet.”
Connor: “Will it kill you?”
Me: “That’s a tough question because they have statistics and guess work but not specific answers.”
Connor: “What do they think?”
Me: “It depends on various things, such as whether they think I can have surgery or not, but maybe up to 6 years, maybe half of that.”
He looks at me and says “Well that’s not so bad mamma because I will be almost grown-up then. I will be ok. It would be much worse if you were to die and I was only 15.”
We talked a little more, the conversation ended and he went off to raid the fridge as teenage boys do. I sat there and thanked the universe for the specialness that allows him to process information, and detach analytical fact from emotional attachment. Yes, I could have lied to him. I could have fudged the truth. But I have raised my kids that the worst thing they can do is lie to me, so I can’t change the rules now just because the truth isn’t pleasant. I also want to make sure that both of the boys have time to accept what is happening, have time to ask questions, to make sure they do stuff with me that’s important to them, and to spend time talking with me about whatever is on their minds, because our time together is now even more precious than it was.
Sometimes, the emotional pain of this is far worse than the cancer itself.