My brother in law George is in the process of dying. He was diagnosed with esophageal cancer 10 months ago, currently he lies in a hospice bed awaiting the inevitable end. The esophageal cancer that was removed this past spring has now spread and continues to consume his body. On January 30, 2015 he was given the prognosis of between 3-6 months, it could be more it could be less. In this past week his condition has seesawed drastically from a high of feeling well enough to take care of a few errands and shoveling snow to the low of where he now lies. The denial in the air is palatable, my mother in law, my husband, my son, my brother in law himself. None of us did our homework well enough when reading up on esophageal cancer, it is the seventh most common cause of cancer death among men. As a bystander, I can only imagine what it feels like when your life is dangled on a raveling thread before your eyes, it is very easy to latch onto any promise of hope that is presented to you. But hearing the words terminal moves your heart into your throat, your blood pools in your ears and the pounding you hear and the rush of your blood are the only palatable sounds and sensations you hear or feel. Life stops, breathing stops, time as we perceive it no longer exists, moments become hours though the days are fleeting.
Today I am angry and on edge. Perhaps because I have been through this before, watching a loved one die before my eyes, I am progressing through the stages of grief more rapidly than those around me. There is no order or rhyme or reason to how or when the stages of grief will descend upon you and I am stalled in the anger stage. I’m angry at those still in denial, I’m angry because they would prefer to live within their bubble of oblivion and pretend that this isn’t happening, George is dying, wishing it isn’t so doesn’t make it so. I’m angry at the doctors that gave George false hope, I’m angry that they refused to spell it out in black and white what his chances were. I’m angry that fear and panic emptied the heads and blocked the hearing of those that needed to be listening. I’m angry because I have no one to talk to about this. I’m angry that I have to put forth the effort to keep being strong. I’m angry that I have to hold it together when all I want to do is scream and shout at the world. I’m angry at God, I want is to understand why. Why does this have to happen? Why is this necessary? What is the plan? Why do I feel alone in my grief and perception of how rapidly this sentence of death is progressing? Why have you put me here? Why have you put George here to endure this? Why, so many whys. So many answers that will be left unanswered. Time no longer matters, there is no time left to matter, all that is is now.