28

IKEA loves a crisis.

Nice Clean Lunchboxes

Grateful in a big way for a small thing.  Washed the boys lunch bags in the machine and they came up beautiful.  Thought I was going to have to purchase new ones for the start of the school year (follows the calendar year in Australia). So pleased I don’t have to spend our money on new lunch bags now.  The things I’m excited about, honestly.  But it feels right to get excited about saving money. I’ve never been particularly careful with money.  I like to give it away.  My greatest joy, but also biggest financial weakness, is buying gifts for friends and family.  I care only for happiness, peace and love.  I figured money would sort itself out. But I think caring more about our financial situation is going to be important. It feels like the correct, mature approach.  I’m 42 and still growing up.  Not good that I’m not grown up but not bad that I keep trying.

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Feels like these little clouds are everywhere in my day.

Storm In A Cup

Especially above my steering wheel.  Every time I get in the car, I cry. There is too much quiet there, not enough noise to drown out the fear and sadness.

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10.00 a.m.  I am driving to IKEA with Tom and I am thinking about problems I might face with the boys in their teenage years if Cliff is not here.  Before, during and after my off-ramp, I contemplated that, until Tom says, ‘Mum, it’s the city! Look, I can see the big buildings!  Are we supposed to be in the city?’  Oh my goodness!  Next off-ramp I turn around and drive back to IKEA.  I get out and reach for my handbag (purse).  It’s not there!  I’ve left it at home.

Wow. We have to go back.

Not productive, this ‘thinking forward’ business. Another good reason to pull myself into the current moment and stop thinking about the future. I will practice it harder.

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10.15 p.m. Hook Happy.  Ikea must love a crisis.  Since Cliff was diagnosed, I’ve had this odd, compelling feeling that I must get the house organized.  It needs to be an oasis of peace and calm.  I doubt if I’m alone there.  When your life is spinning out of control, you need to grab firmly onto something and control it.  I’ve never been compelled to be neat before and, sadly, I don’t think I am now.  But it’s just this urge I have for the simple things to be easier.

We can’t fight this battle with clear, calm heads if we spend five minutes looking for underwear in the morning, ten minutes finding the receipt to return the freezer I just bought (to store the wonderful food that is arriving) in exchange for a bigger one.  Piles of clothes and paper lying around steal my energy.  Every time I look at them I think, ick, I need to do something about that and, before I know it, everywhere I look in our house, there is a job that needs doing.  So I am organizing the jobs away from my face.  If everything has a place, in theory, it should be easy to find and easy to put away.

It’s not exactly an overwhelming feeling, this tidiness compulsion, it’s more of an underlying urge that is always there and when I have some time I let it take over and I organize something, a cupboard, some shelves, a room, some drawers.

For the past ten days it has been hooks.  It seems, suddenly, that the solution for everything is … a hook!

A shower cap hook

Shower cap Hook

A hand and face towel hook for each boy.

Hand towel hook

Hooks for everything. I’ve gone hook mad.

Hooks for things that one day may need a hook

And hooks for things that don’t even need hooks, in case one day they need a hook.  The hook is ready.

And I bought a new bedside table.  I’ve got a tall pile of chaos balancing on my current bedside table (night stand).  I found my old bedside table on the side of the road 11 years ago, I painted black in an effort to try and make it less roadside-trash-ish and it’s done the job until now.  Becuase I’m thinking; If I’m not worried about everything toppling off my bedside table when I reach for my clock, that’s got to help make me feel more calm, right?

I don’t know why, but something inside me thinks it will.

New Night stand

Tomorrow I will organize my old bedside table into this new one.

Love, Esser

27

Can I plan *and* be present at the same time?

Hannah Anderson dropped off a dozen little cheerful cupcakes. xoxo

Cupcakes Hannah made.

10.45a.m.  Our friends lighten the load.

I’m sure everyone has their own issues.   Their own stresses, their own health problems, emotional problems, money problems, work problems, family problems, or something and yet, here they all are.  Helping us.  Trying to do anything they can to make our load lighter.

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2.22 p.m.  The concept of living in the moment is vexing me.

I’m trying to figure out how I can make this work.  How I need to be to live in the moment.  Do I need to change who I am?

Does it mean I have to sit quietly and listen hard to the world all the time?  Experience nothing in order to experience everything?

All my life (except for the six months after my big brother, Mitch, was killed in a car crash eight years ago, and my whole life froze while I watched the trees grow in the backyard because that’s all I dared to do for fear of the world hurting me again, except for then…) I have been riding a wild, free horse.

A stallion of joy, enthusiasm, ambition, commitment to family, work, play, health and life.  Do I need to learn how to ride the wild horse around in a pen?  In a stable yard?  It feels like that is what is being asked of me.  I need to stop being my wild, joyful self.  I need to be solemn, silent and serious.  Stop thinking about the future.  Stop planning big.

Surely I’m missing the point.  Surely I’m not expected to sit, crossed-legged with my eyes closed in the mud in the middle of a stable yard, while my wild horse bucks and kicks at the fence, trying to break free to gallop wildly through the hills and the wood?

I love the scars on my cheeks from branches slapping and cutting into my face as I race bareback through the forest.  I love my hair full of dust and dirt from hours of riding in the wild.  The grime on my hands that smears onto my face when I wipe away the sweat.  Does that all go?

It can’t be.

That denies my truth, my purpose, my god.  I am connected to ‘god’ (nature, universe — whatever you want to call it ) when I am there, in the wild, being wild.  To restrain that can’t be the answer.

So what is it?

Perhaps … I am meant to find a way to sit, content, on my wild horse.  In other words; Rein in my mind, but not my life.  Continue my adventurous life, but instead of always thinking about the imaginary castle I am riding to think about the ride.

But, my logic asks, ‘How do I guide my horse?’  How do I choose a path when I am only living in the moment?  How do I see, in my head, the fork in the road and lean, ever so slightly, to the left just before we get there so my beast knows which way to go?

How do I marry the now and the imaginary future?  How can I achieve a goal if I don’t visualize it first?  Do I let go of all my goals?  Maybe I can give up the goals I have… but what of the goals I have for our children?  I’m not only talking about goals for their future education and care but also simple goals.  Goals like getting them to school each day clean, clothed, rested, fed, calmed and loved, all the while training them to do those things for themselves.  That takes monumental force and focus every single time I do it.  If I don’t have part of my head in the future, how can I achieve that?

Every now and then I think, ‘Hey, yeah, it’s easy for those monks who sit in their robes on their cool monastery floors without children to feed and a husband to care for 24/7.’  But I know it’s an excuse, to get me off the hook from being in the moment.

We have evolved to live in the future.  It’s absolutely exhausting living in the now.  Noticing everything.  Appreciating everything.  And if you live in the world I do, full of family, community, friends, work … everything constantly makes you think about the future.  Planning for the future is a very big part of what makes a good parent, right?

A child’s road doesn’t just appear.  It is built by a parent.  The child chooses how to travel down it (or not).  They might skip, dance and sing, go loudly down their road with friends, go quietly down their road alone or redesign their road; it’s their choice, but a parent has to first make a road for them.  So how do I build a road into their future without going there, in my mind, to plan and build it for them?

There is no denying that I constantly have to think about the future: plan meals, plan baths, plan doctors appointments, plan washing, plan cleaning … all for a better future. But what do you do if you are told your future stops in six months?  How do I plan for the future when I can’t see one?

I have to do both.  I have to plan for the future and I have to be present.   My challenge will be knowing when to do which one of these.

My plan now is to clean the kitchen and put away the pile of clothes that is sitting on the stairs.  I will do it while thinking about being ‘in’.  In this body.  In this moment.

Love, Esser

26

The future is not mine. It is not promised to me. And because I believed it was, it hurts like a mother!*#ker when it’s ripped away.

One might be lulled into thinking we have reached a plateau.  It doesn’t appear to be quite so colossally catastrophic every moment of every day. But in my mind, what’s happening to us is similar to this photo, but blacker, wider and with no end of the waves in sight.

dwarfed by a colossal waves

This is where we are:

A stormy, black, shark-infested sea with 50-foot swells, a howling gale, biting rain and bitter cold.  Whales and waves threaten to capsize us at any moment.

Cliff and I had been lounging on the deck of the boat we built together.  Previously, we had navigated our vessel through the normal, sometimes tough, waters of the world in search of our quiet, warm-water bay off the coast of a beautiful land, where we finally dropped our anchor.   The kids played around the boat; in and out of the water.

Then unexpectedly, inexplicably, the sun disappeared. We grabbed the kids, pulling them into the boat.  Night came in 20 seconds.  Our anchor broke and within minutes we were hurled into the center of a vast, unfriendly sea.  We only had time to secure the kids in the hull — their warmly lit, cozy and familiar home with their toys and each other.  But Cliff and I spent the first week on deck, trying to navigate.  We were alternately slammed against the mast and the rails, as our boat dropped off the edge of waves, shuddering on an unforgiving sea that threatened to shatter our vessel.  Thank God we built it strong.

And have I mentioned the noise?  Like nothing I’ve ever heard.  It’s so loud and bad, you can almost see the noise.  It’s deafening.

Finally, in the second week, we managed to put our belts around our waists and secure a single chain from each of our belts to the deck.  It didn’t stop us from being cut and bruised by the giant shift in balance of our boat, but we had progressed.  And we know that when our second chain is secured from our belts to the deck, we will still be in the shifting, sickening, scary night, but we aren’t going to be thrown overboard.  I think, maybe, yesterday we secured our second chain.  Our situation hasn’t changed but we may be feeling a bit more balanced.  Hard to know what the sea will throw up next.  Bravery, strength, love and discipline will prepare us for what comes.  We focus on committing to those things.

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8.06  p.m.  Sat with Chase this afternoon for about two hours while the children swam in my in-law’s pool.  I heard myself saying some things to Chase that I didn’t like … I didn’t like at all.  They were all related to pouting about the future.  Things our family couldn’t do or couldn’t have.  To use the kids’ words when one of their brothers is having a big pout; I was being a ‘sooky-dooky-lala’.  A big, fat baby.  Suck it up.  Have a look around sister.  I don’t need to look far.  My alcoholic neighbor has six children, four grandchildren from three of her teenage children, no income and a mentally ill husband who only comes home to abuse her.

Wake up to yourself princess.

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This.

Here.

Now.

 

This moment is O.K.  Be here, now.

 

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Kim Jones delivers sandwiches in our cooler (esky).

sandwich platter Our friends rescue us with food.

Love, Esser

26

24

At Least Our ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’ does not haunt the children.

What’s going on in my mind does not match the real world.  The world thinks it’s Christmas Eve.  So, we make it Christmas Eve for the children.

It always shocks and surprises me when someone asks what we’re doing for Christmas.  Because it feels nothing like Christmas.  I always want to say, ‘Oh, is Christmas coming?’  I hadn’t noticed.

Somehow I am able, and Cliff is, too, to completely compartmentalize the two separate realities.  Our ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’ does not poison the sugarplums dancing in the children’s heads.  That is a miracle and a blessing.

That we can give them a Christmas like any other is a gift we are grateful for beyond measure.

Because, while we are living in the horror, knowing that they are not gives us joy, hope, pride and a sense of accomplishment when we feel helpless about everything else.

Reindeer cupcake for Santa

Gorgeous Chase brings us a tray of her home-made reindeer cupcakes.  The kids eat some and put one out for Santa.

Love, Esser

22

‘Will’-ing some humor into my day.

Angel of Hope from Kelly and Ward O’Donnell

Angel of Hope

9.31 a.m.  Today we had a visit from Alex and Celine Jacobs and their son, Troy.

They offered to take our three boys back to their house to play with their chickens and watch a film, which our boys love doing.  So our house was quiet in the afternoon.  I worked on my will.  The will lawyer, David, emailed us a draft of the will based on our very simple, existing wills.  Now I am going through and checking what he wrote and to make a final draft.  I am almost done.

I came to the part of my will that talks about donating organs.  I’ve always thought I wouldn’t have much use for my organs when I’m dead, so why not help someone else with them.  When I was typing my wishes I accidentally wrote, ‘I will donate any oranges …’

Oranges?!!! 

I couldn’t stop laughing!  I meant to say, ‘organs’, ‘I will donate any organs.’  That typo tooootally cracked me up.

laughing icon

Oranges.

 

 

Then I got to thinking …

How funny would it be if I left that in my will?  There’s the bereaved, gathered in the lawyer’s office for the reading of the will. ‘Sarah Jane Washington has left all her oranges to be donated to those in need.’  The puzzled looks. ‘Oranges?  What the …?’  They’d roll their eyes and say, ‘You mean marbles.  She’s donating all her marbles!  Man, she was losing those at the end, wasn’t she?’

I did leave it in my will.  A bit of humour isn’t going to hurt anyone.  It’s going to help.

Now it actually reads:

I will gladly donate any oranges…

…just kidding.  I accidentally wrote ‘oranges’ and thought I should leave it in because, by now (since we’re at the end of my will), you could probably use a little bit of light, comic relief.  What I meant to say, of course, was I will gladly donate any organs.  Which is true.  However, I do not want my body donated to science, thank you kindly anyway.  I have a few medical friends who have discouraged me from doing this, as they have shared their extremely amusing stories about what they did to the cadavers they were given in medical school.  (Let your imagination go wild and you’ve still got a way to go.)  Even though I’ve always wanted to be in films I don’t think my dead body needs to feature in anyone’s comedic medical school youtube clip.  I think I will give that exciting opportunity a miss.  Having said that, if someone needs my eyes, which aren’t really all that great, or my heart which is big but broken, or any of my other bits for spare parts, I’d be honored to fill the gap.

May give someone a laugh.  Or at least lighten the mood a bit.  It did mine.  And, in my day, in the kind of days we’re having, if I can find anything to laugh at, anything at all, I grab on to it with both hands and laugh the hell out of it.  And if there’s still some funny left in it when I’m done, I tuck it away and pull it out for a giggle later.

Which reminds me, I’ve been googling comedians lately.  My humor hunting has uncovered these guys.  I recommend Google ’em:

Russell Peters – current fave

Ross Noble — funny Irish or is he Scottish? I think that’s one of his jokes actually.

Tim Minchin — top-quality entertainment

Ricky Gervais — and some of the idiot abroad series

 

2.00 p.m.  Jim Frazier also stopped by this afternoon with a huge basket of fruit.  His wife has been battling breast cancer.  Hard.

Then Chase and Guy, Emma and Sophia came over to bring us Christmas presents and cards and chocolate.  I got a cloud broach and a beautiful, delicate little silver Christmas tree.  The boys will wait and open theirs on Christmas.  Emma and Sophia left love notes all over the house for the boys to find when they got home because they were still at the Jacobs’ house.

Around six o’clock the boys came home.  We ate an incredible meal of bangers and mash prepared by Bridgette Curnow.  The kids played for an extra while after dinner on the trampoline with the sprinkler on underneath and the slide with the hose water running down it.  So hot today.

Tonight, a normal night of stories and bed.

Night now.

Love, Esser

21

My, what a lovely big table you have … all the better to lose it on.

‘Grateful for …’ photo today is of Cliff and I sitting on the edge of the basketball court, watching Grant play with his mates until the school music goes.  After we ride our bikes to school as a family, we enjoy watching him shoot some hoops.

It’s such a peaceful way to start a day.

C & E watching The G on B ball court.

 

Woke up feeling pretty good.  Took the kids to school.  Came home.  Had a shower.  Got dressed.  Put on a simple, black dress and boots (coolish weather today).  Went via school to pick up a class list and ran into Melissa Ross, who is a newish friend of mine. She was flying out to America today on her way to Vegas and then back to her childhood home with her niece.  Like me, Melissa is American, but unlike me, I can’t call her a Yankee; I should just call her Scarlett.  With that drawl of hers, I’m certain she could whip up a gorgeous gown from a set of curtains in an afternoon.

We had a super great chat, just standing there by the school front office.  She then sent me a text later in the day inviting me for coffee, which I couldn’t do the next day, but look forward to doing in the new year.  That made me happy to think we would both like to be friends. It’s optimistic and cheerful to make new friends or become better friends with someone I know only a little.

I went straight from there into the city for a meeting with Cliff and Douglas (Cliff’s younger brother) at the lawyer’s office.

12.15 p.m.  Meeting with David Dawson Junior of the Dawson & Darmon Law firm.  It’s a small miracle I didn’t walk straight into the conference room, plant both my hands firmly on his table and vomit out every horrible thing I’m trying to hold inside myself.

That’s what I kept imagining, throughout the whole meeting, was going to happen.   At any second, my body would reject all this horribleness out onto the beautifully polished vastness in front of us.

Cliff, Douglas, David and I discussed my will and Cliff’s will.

Half of me tried to focus hard to understand the legalese and the other half tried to hold my guts and tears inside.  I spared them the guts, but the tears wouldn’t be dammed.

David talked about all the scenarios:

If Cliff dies, what happens.

If I die, what happens.

If Cliff and I both die, what happens.

And then the Armageddon possibility: both Cliff and I and all our children die; for example, in a plane crash.

Cliff handled the whole thing beautifully.  I asked him how he could be so unaffected about the decisions, the talk about his death, the horrific nightmare scenarios and strange, impossible futures, that now feel frighteningly possible.  He says he could go through the motions in the meeting because it’s ‘just the responsible thing everyone should do’.  (By-the-way, while you’re reading this, pause for a minute, open your electronic calendar and enter in a date next month, which will be your insurance/will day.  Then hit ‘repeat’ and set it for ‘every four years’.  That’s the advice we got from David in the meeting.  Everyone should review their will and life insurance every four years.  People’s lives change – birth, divorce, death, moving, etc. – and for your will to accurately reflect your wishes/stay relevant, it’s a good idea to check it and revise it, if needed, every four years.  There ya go, free advice your relatives can thank me for.)   It’s just peace of mind and good practice for big people.

Anyway, Cliff says he will not die from this cancer, so there is nothing to be upset about.  The scenarios discussed today are only hypothetical.

Because all the doctors tell us so and because of our constant hours spent inside the hospital, Cliff’s death feels real.  Imminent even.  My emotions were being scraped raw in that meeting the entire time we discussed what we will do, how our lives will run financially ‘when’ Cliff dies. How nice it would have been to be oblivious, like Cliff, to the horror discussed around that meeting table.  Denial is a gift.  I support him in his gift but I don’t have the luxury of it.

3.40 p.m.  Anne Kidd came up to me after school and said she was ‘so sorry’.  I burst into tears.  She said if there was anything she could do, to ask her.  She said it was sincere and she wanted to help with the kids.  She said, ‘I know the little two don’t know me, but I will do anything for you, and I’m sure they’ll be O.K., because they’ll be with Grant.’  Anne’s son, Ryan, is one of Grant’s good friends and basketball-playing buddies at school.

Usually I’m stronger than that.  That was the messiest school pick-up yet.

Cried when Felicity talked to me, too.  Poo.  Crying is tiring.  Tired now.

5.26 p.m.  This is not O.K.  This is not cool.  This is NOT O.K.

Universe, in case you’re listening.  This is not O.K. with me.  This is not O.K.  You cannot be doing this.  STOP IT.  Go pick on someone your own size.

Fuck off!

Not O.K.

 

 

Not.

 

7.26 p.m. While I am trying to put the kids to bed, instead of brushing their teeth, Leo makes a forest of Pick-Up-Sticks under the doona (quilt/duvet).

Boys exploring their pick-up-stick forest

We all take turns looking at it with a torch (flashlight).

   It’s so cool.

Pick-up_stick forest

With a couple of Lego people the boys make their little people have big adventures in the Pick-Up-Stick forest.  Ten minutes later to bed isn’t going to hurt anyone.

Love, Esser

21

Last Day of School.

Savory muffins

Savoury muffins delivered by a beautiful friend to our door.

Cried myself to sleep in Cliff’s arms last night.

Rebooted today.  I had a huge sleep.  It’s such a relief.

Today school finishes for the year.

(Australia is in the southern hemisphere. So the seasons are opposite to the northern hemisphere.  It’s the start of our summer break now.  Christmas is always hot and 4 July, which isn’t celebrated here — obviously, since the Queen of England is still Australia’s Queen — is in the middle of winter.)

Kind of relieved no more school responsibilities, no more sporting responsibilities, no more school crowds, but also kind of freaked by what this summer will bring.

And forgive me for just saying this again, but …

WTF?

Seriously.  W … T … F?  And how is this happening?

Love, Esser

20

If this day was in pencil, I’d erase it.

Except, perhaps, for the cherry and white chocolate muffins from Chase McPherson.

I know they look blueberry but they are gorgeous cherry and white chocolate muffins.

 

2.14 p.m. Too tired to talk about my emotions.  Ready for this to stop coming at me.

How is this going to work?  How can I be this exhausted when the ‘bad bit’ hasn’t started yet?

I can’t see any way I’m going to find more strength.  All I can do is hope time will manufacture some strength for me.

We went to the mall to quickly scratch up some Christmas presents; normally I’m way into Christmas.  Now Christmas is irrelevant.

Monique came with us.  It just about killed me to leave them to go buy Cliff’s presents.  I want to be with him all the time.  I rushed through my shopping to get home to be with him.  There is some tiny, irrational part of my being that fears he will evaporate or disappear if I don’t hold on to him all the time.

Tears are pouring down my cheeks, no sobbing, just a flood on my face.  Must have hit a main valve with that last paragraph.

Since the diagnosis, it’s like he is a child whose hand will slip from mine in a crowded subway and be gone forever.  The fear of losing him is paralysing.  The thought of it leaves no oxygen in my lungs and no way to get it back.  I have to think of something else for air to come in again.

We ate lunch together.  Then I worked on my job, while he and Monique wrapped presents and listened to Christmas music.  Kept trying to work.  Kept not having the head for it. PJ picked up the kids from school because I’m still in the slump and can’t face anyone.

Cliff and I are walking in our best new clothes along a bright city street, holding hands, laughing, talking, looking in the shop windows at all the futures we know will be ours.  We are smiling.  Out of nowhere Toni Trenshaw appears and points to the subway entrance. We have no choice but to follow her.  As we walk down the subway stairs, the bright helium sunshine slips up, away from us, and we are swallowed by the gritty, growing grey of the dark subway light.  Toni walks backward, she knows these stairs, this path, so well.  She holds our stare with her gentle, knowing eyes, collecting information from our reactions all the time.

She keeps walking down and down into the ugly air that blows upward from the pressure of the trains.  We have no choice; still we follow her.  We are frightened and stunned, not only by the storm-like air, but also by the deafening noise of trains and now the strangers we see moving around the subway floor in thick, fast, swarming crowds.  Toni stands at the edge of the crowd, beckoning us in.  ‘This way,’ she speaks.  But I only see her words.  The subway noise is so loud, my brain has sent its auditory processors home and without definition, the vast noise mimics silence.  

But I can hear my own thoughts and feel the fear that is rising everywhere inside me.  The fear coats the walls of my mind and the lining of my mouth; it makes my blood acidic and dissects my abdomen in maps of pain.  

Cliff walks toward her.  I freeze, pulling back on his hand with both of mine.  ‘No.’ I won’t move.  

Everything about this place is dangerous and foreign.  I whip around, still holding his hand, to lead us back up the stairs, expecting to see at least a pinhole of yellow light to guide us out; instead, inches from my face, a solid, tiled subway wall glares imperiously down at me, ignorant of my knowledge that it wasn’t there a second ago and it doesn’t belong there now.  I know what this means.  It means; what I want doesn’t matter.  What is happening to us is going to happen to us.  Some unexplainable, evil horror makes the choices now.  I want to slap my hand on the wall, show it my hate, how wrong it is, how devastating, but I don’t give it the proof it craves of my hand, acknowledging that it’s solid and real.  Instead, I scream at it.  For my own benefit.  I scream and scream and scream.  

Of course the noise is lost.  But protesting gives me some satisfaction.  I take that little tiny piece of something that is mine and turn to Cliff.  

‘It’s O.K.,’ he nods.  ‘We’ll get the next train out.’  

‘What?’ I ask.  Not for lack of hearing, but for understanding.  This isn’t our commute.  This is our end.  Doesn’t he know that’s what Toni means by bringing us here?  Is she wrong?  Is there a way out?  Can I believe it?  

Cliff looks toward the train schedule board, planning our way out.  Toni walks further into the crowd, backward, watching us.  Cliff steps toward her.  He is certain he can find our train home.  He’s pulling me in, but I repel from the crowds, pull back with both my hands, pleading in a terrorized tug-of-war he won’t acknowledge.  

He starts moving us into the crowd.  Ripped from my protest, I fall forward because it’s inevitable; I follow him.  It’s what I do.  But I look back at the wall I hated four seconds earlier and long for it now.  I covet its stillness, its closeness to the way we came in, its proximity to our old life and the fact that it’s no longer the new terrible.  

Now, pushed and bumped by jostling strangers in the guts of this busy, bad tube, I bury my face in Cliff’s shoulder.  Confused terror is all I feel inside myself, so I come back to reality, hoping for something else.  I force open my eyes and see his hand. Oh, God … his hand.  It’s the same.  It’s what I know.  A wave of heavy, warm, delicious calm settles me back and I realize — in this ‘nowhere’ I have something; I have him.  I recognize his hand.  It brings me home.  I am home with him.  It’s O.K.  We’re together.  I have hold of his hand.  I will not let go.

 

And that is part of where this desperate need to just hold him, be near him, see him and touch him comes from.  The fear, the feeling of certainty, that his hand will slip from mine and I will be without him in The Nowhere forever.  Every ounce of everything I know and love … gone.

Love, Esser

19

How Old Are You?

11.14 a.m.  Still in the throes of the five-day slump.  Such a hard day.  So tired of trying to accept and process everything that is happening.

FULL.

Please stop.

4.00 p.m.  Grateful for Lara McDowell’s McBeautiful hedgehog slice.

Hedgehog! (Funny name for Aussie cocoa, cookie and coconut treats)

Fattening-up food for Cliff.  Fabulous for freezing.  So they will last and I can pull them out the night before, when I fill up his daily Tupperware snack box of the three healthy and fattening foods he eats with full-cream milk and fruit.

People who think they know about diet and cancer will have an opinion about what Cliff should eat.  You can judge his eating habits.  No one will stop you.  Just remember I’m only giving you part of the story.  You are not informed.  This isn’t a medical blog about what kind of cancer he has and the genome sequencing involved in the hunt for triggers that are activated in the rouge cells.  I’m not going into the medical details.  Nor is this a blog about fighting cancer with food.  There are blogs like that.  This isn’t it.  I will only say one thing about his diet: telling Cliff (who has always had an excellent diet but is now super scary skinny and desperately needs to gain weight to survive) that eating a no-sugar diet is going to help fight his cancer is like telling a soldier in war, who’s just had the lower half of his body blown off by a grenade and is lying, dying in your arms, that if he stops eating sugar he’ll be fine.  It’s about that effective.

Aaaaand, you deserve an explanation.  That last paragraph happened because we went to a place today called the The Boudine Centre.  It offers meditation and counselling services, as well as a wellness library.  It has a program that involves healthy eating and it’s a little, well, single-minded.  That last paragraph is a direct reaction from the meeting with the counsellor, who was at pains to say, ‘O.K., you didn’t exactly cause you own cancer but … probably your lifestyle made you susceptible to it and you can cure it if you stop eating sugar and meditate the way we tell you to.’  It did not sit well with me.  It’s as if they’re saying, if he doesn’t cure himself, he isn’t trying hard enough.

6.06 p.m.  Teetah and PJ brought their minister to dinner at our house tonight.  Leo and Cliff answered the door.  Leo said, ‘What’s your name?’  She told him it was Beth.  Leo said, ‘Why are you here?’  She replied she was a friend of his grandparents.  And Leo said, ‘How old are you?’  Oops.  She said, ‘Too old.’ And Leo went on to say, ‘My dad is 24.’

So nice to have a laugh.  Thanks, Leo.

Love, Esser