First Birthday

Blogs-contributors, Dan Waeger — By on July 18, 2009 at 8:25 am

It has been a pretty tough couple of weeks. I suppose that I am thinking back to last year at this time when we’d found out that Dan’s cancer has metastasized to his liver. It is hard to believe that this blog just celebrated it’s one year anniversary. More than everything else, the blog has been a big part of dealing with what has happened for both Dan & I. Sure we wanted to keep people informed and maybe educate a few folks along the way. But the blog was always a place to go to share our thoughts & hopes. Very rarely did we share fears and sadness, because we had each other to lean on. We always wanted people to know that even with cancer and an uncertain future, we were still positive and still happy people.

This period has been unexpectedly rough. I think you feel like you should feel better every day. And some days you feel worse than before. I am reminded of Sisyphus, the character in mythology who was destined to roll a boulder all the way up a hill, just to have it roll back and have to start all over again. Don’t take that to mean that I being negative. I just want to get the bolder over the hill… not to move on, but to stop being happy & sad all at the same time. I didn’t even think that was possible. But of course, should give me hope that after all I’ve seen and what I’ve lost, I am happy. I really think that it’s the mark Dan left on my life- the gift of happiness despite the odds & circumstances.

I spend a lot of time “doing”- yes, I keep myself pretty busy. But when you’re always “doing” you don’t take the time to “un-do”… and by that, “un-do” the sad thoughts. Because you just keep moving. I am not one to usually admit when I am sad or when something is bothering me. Dan & I are alike in that way. When he was getting treatment or having a really tough day, he would just retreat into his thoughts to focus on getting through, focus on being positive. That could be hard on me sometimes because I wanted to always hear what he was thinking… he was the one that always made me feel better. I could always talk to him. One of the best things about being with Dan was that he just let me talk or get things out. He never judged and always acknowledged what I had to say. As he’d say “get it out- you’ll feel better. And I’ll buy you an ice cream.”

So, if I could talk to Dan, here is some of things I’d say that have been really hard lately…

1. I can’t believe I will never say to our son or daughter “You look just like your Dad”.
2. I really used to like watching you at the driving range. I always stunk and would let you hit more balls. It was great to watch you do something you loved and were good at… even if I was bad!
3. Guapo’s just isn’t the same without you. Neither is Rita’s or Carmen’s… I’ve swtiched my usual to your favorite- cherry.
4. Not hearing you say “Babe, whatcha doing? Where’ve ya been?”
5. Working on scholarships for NCCF and realizing how much of an effort it is. And to think back to you being so sick with chemo and insisting on scanning all of them yourself & getting them out. I have a whole new level of respect.
6. Getting to be a part of the work you did in the cancer community, and knowing that you’d be happy I was meeting people & connecting with others & trying to find my own way. Bittersweet.
7. Having people ask why I wear two bracelets, and have them look at me in horror/sadness when I say “my fiance passed away from cancer”. It’s impossible to do your story justice in a 2 minute conversation.
8. Realizing that by the end of the week, every pair of shoes I own, along with my bags, are right at the door when I walk in creating a hazard. It was the only thing that got under your skin.

So I’ll see if sharing this makes me feel a little bit better. Dan always said you need a team on board to deal with cancer. And I still need that team, and thankfully, have this blog to connect with them. Sometimes I do feel like I am letting him down when I am not 100% positive. But he wasn’t perfect, and I know he had his moments of doubt, too. And he always wanted to give people a realistic view of living with cancer. And I guess maybe I can do that living after cancer.

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