My father was diagnosed with prostate cancer this past week.
I typed that sentence and stopped. No. No, he wasn’t. This must be a dream. Not the worst dream I’ve ever had, but one that has to end. It’s going to end, right? I just slept funny, mixed up my wakefulness and dreamstate. This isn’t real, right? Please tell me this isn’t real. I stopped and wanted to throw something. Hard. Watch something break. There is nothing to break. It’s too cold to walk at night. I am stuck. Facing this ugly reality. And my imagination runs wild.
The reality is that his prognosis is good. Very, very good. Any treatment he will receive will be more preventative than life-saving because his life is not in any kind of immediate danger.
I think of this now, and while logic reminds me not to worry, not to fear, not to break into the cold sweat I have been fighting for the past 36 hours….my nerves, my emotions shriek other directions.
I am grateful that my father told me himself. I am grateful that I am here. I am grateful that yesterday, after finding out, I didn’t back out of plans with a friend, that I went even though my stomach was in knots and I wondered if I would be any kind of company.
I hold to this gratefulness like a child drowning, trying desperately to hold on to something stronger, stable. Perfect love casts out fear, but gratefulness does too. Gratefulness reminds me that What is and Who is are greater than the feared future. Gratefulness reminds me that, perhaps, finally, I can understand why the flipping heck I needed to be back in the USA when so many other lands call my name. If I were not here, as insignificant as the treatment may well be, if I were not here – I would never forgive myself.
Some people repeat psalms when they are fearful. I recite my litany of things for which I’m grateful, the things that the Protagonist of the Psalms has given me. I am grateful this was caught early. I am grateful that he is being proactive. I am grateful my parents are honest. I am grateful I am here. I am grateful for a friend who talked me through some of my panic. I am grateful. I am grateful. I am grateful.
Please. I just want to cry. I am grateful. I am grateful. I am……fearful and weary and scared and sad. I am grateful. I am grateful. I am sick to my stomach. I am grateful. I am grateful. I am grateful. What if the doctor is wrong? I am grateful. I am grateful. I grateful.
I don’t want to talk. I feel like I can’t process, like a cord is wrapped around my throat, and is tied to my wrists. This isn’t real.
Facts don’t always help. Being armed is good. The right thing to do. But mourning and panic are to be processed; and I am intermittently thrown into those moments, between my gratefulness mantra.
Just give me some time. Maybe this is a sad dream. Not the worst dream. But not a good one. I will be grateful when I wake up.