Nashville or Bust

The trip that started a longer journey

Letting Go of Roger

September 30, 2018 —  I’m having one of those present to past to present mornings. Sitting down to write something new, which ironically (or not), was about the past and present colliding, I found a draft of a piece I never published. Or to be more accurate, it found me. Within this forgotten post, I became reunited with a woman from almost a decade past. She had something to say the me that is now.

This piece, Letting Go of Roger, was originally drafted January 17, 2010 at 10:32 p.m. Dave was dealing with his first round of Lymphoma and approximately two-thirds of the way through treatment. I wrote this while the house was sleeping but decided at the last moment not to make it public. It was a raw piece that just tumbled out and I was terrified. To publish it would have been exposing too much. At that time, I felt the need to keep my armor intact.

But, in reading this now and reflecting, I find this piece says a lot and perhaps more than it had intended on that cold night.


Letting Go of Roger 01.17.10

A wonderful friend and therapist told me that we humans have a funny way of developing relationships with the things that enter our lives, not just the people. Even the bad, unwanted, scary and undesired things – they can easily lay claim. That’s why certain events cling and we find ourselves with stuff to reconcile long after change comes.

I realized the other day I’ve been in a freaky relationship with Roger and while I know the end is coming, I need to make sure the break is real. For me.

Yeah – you heard that right. I have a relationship with my husband’s tumor. The thing that threatens the entire balance of my universe has infiltrated my life in a different way. I’ve become so used to Roger being around that sometimes I feel too casual with this cancer thing. I’ve catered to his presence and adjusted so many nuances just because that’s the way it works best for Roger. I even altered how I look because of him. Simply, I’ve learned to live in and with his shadow. Roger has been the first thing I think about every day since August and is always the last thing I think about after I kiss Dave goodnight. Even sleep has elements of Roger – exhausting, taunting dreams that leave me trying to figure out an impossible puzzle or outwit a crazed psycho. Roger is my fog.

Like many relationships, Roger just appeared in my life at a time when everything was happy and ‘normal.’ I was not looking for him nor did I ever think I would take up with the likes of him. It. Just. Happened. He slipped into my every movement and before I knew it, took over. He got inside my brain, twisting it like a pretzel, asking me to cave and choose him. And that’s when the danger began because for a while there, I didn’t know who, or what, was going to win. Talk about lost and alone and everything feeling so wrong. But at times, it felt right too, because I had made the conscious decision to accept the state we were in and learn everything I could from it. I’m not a born hater.

My a-ha moment came the other week when we learned Roger is in fact shrinking, and with every drip of chemo, being reduced into a former state of self. I should have been euphoric but honestly I was a bit stunned – and quiet. It was in the acknowledgement of this positive change that I finally identified the odd influence this acidic glob of mutating cells has had on me. I wanted to celebrate and be free but I honestly felt trapped. I couldn’t help wondering what life was going to be like when Roger was really gone. There was no going back to our past but what was waiting on the other side? I couldn’t quite get over the notion of life without Roger. But I wanted to and that is what is important.

Dave is feeling so much better. Incredible, in fact. In the three-week swing between treatments, the number of good days now outweigh the bad. And while Dave is ecstatic with this ability to feel good again, I find myself reacting with caution. I’m almost afraid to feel good with him because part of me wonders if this is new reality or just altered presence. Will Roger really go away or have I unknowingly granted him permission to stay? When he is gone how long will it take for me to adjust to living without him? Can I easily forget a kitchen with pharmacy bottles everywhere and doctor appointment cards tacked haphazardly to the wall? Can I erase forever Google histories of frantic info quests at midnight or echoes of sobs in my car when driving alone? Will I ever feel like I can hug with abandon and expose Dave to the elements without fear of hurting his back or making him sick? Will I be haunted long after we say good-bye? How much has Roger changed me?

I believe that by examining these things now, I am in fact beginning a new process outside of the cancer fight. I am eradicating Roger from me. And that, my friends, is healthy. I am seeking permission to live, cancer free. I am learning what it feels like to walk alongside a survivor and actually smell the roses. I’m learning to let go and breathe. ~Jacqui

September 30, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment