Sunday, July 17, 2016
I'm not going anywhere
I made sure to look decent whenever I went over to see him. It was a dire situation. He didn't need me showing up there looking like hell warmed over. Besides, I didn't want him to know how worried I was.
I'd gone over for several days in a row. It was decided that I should take a day off. A friend of mine suggested it. I ran with it.
So the next day I woke up with the knowledge that I was not going to leave the house. I wasn't going over to his house or anyone else's. I had no appointments. I wasn't expected at either of my kids' schools. The farthest I'd be walking would be to the laundry room.
The thing I remember most about that day was getting dressed. The clothes selected themselves.
I put on my Camp Sunshine sweatpants. The elastic was shot, but they still stayed up. The Camp Sunshine logo was almost worn away. It looked like peeling paint.
I topped it off with a long sleeved, ultramarine blue tee shirt. The design looks slightly Buddhist. It's fancy font invites you to Imagine A World Without Cancer.
It turns out the shirt, acquired on account of being a Cancer mom, and unfortunately, also a bereaved mom, was somewhat applicable to my current predicament. Because of fucking cancer.
The pants too, but less directly.
Finally, I rounded off my statement with thick green socks with treads at the bottoms. These are hospital socks. They gave them to me at the UrgentCare center when I broke my ankle. They stretched one over my splinted foot to prepare for my trip home. I put the other one in my bag.
The best thing about the clothes and socks were their comfort. I was clearly engaging in what lifestyle blogs call extreme self care. Not facial masks, cleanses or a spa. My version of it.
The second best thing about the three elements were that they are all on a list of items that I am only allowed to wear around the house. I used to wear these things out in public. Since that time, I have raised my standards considerably.
It was appealing to wear a tee shirt at home that I could never wear to visit him. He could no longer imagine a world without cancer. It would be pointless to try. It would be a terrible idea to wear it in front of him. Besides, as I've indicated earlier, it isn't even flattering.
But I was free to imagine a world without cancer in my own home.
I luxuriated in looking bad but feeling good. Sometimes I caught sight of myself in a mirror. The worse I looked the better I liked it.
I don't remember much else about that day. It was not a watershed day in terms of accomplishment. I have some positive memories about it, even as the details blur.
Right after that, things took a terrible turn. There were emergency trips to see him. There were emergency phone calls to help him.
Laundry was the last thing on my mind. One of the last times I went, but not the very last time, I broke down and wore the Camp Sunshine pants. Most of my other clothes were dirty.
Another friend was there visiting with me. Sweatpants, he said. It was without judgement. It was a statement of fact. For him, this was an unexpected development. Yes, I said.
When I bought the Camp Sunshine pants, I believed that I would never throw them out. But not long after he died, I brought them to fabric recycling. They developed holes. They no longer stayed up. I was okay with it. Especially under the circumstances.
I'm not ready to write much about him yet. I'm not even prepared to write about his clothes. Writing about my own clothes is about the best I can do.
The Best Thing Someone Never Said To Me
What I know, what I don't know
Lying In Wait