“In a real dark night of the soul it is always three o’clock in the morning”
F. Scott Fitzgerald
When I am overwhelmed, three o’clock in the morning is my mind’s natural wake up time. Usually between 2:58 and 3:01, specifically. This is not uncommon for people. There are many purported reasons for this from the spiritual to the scientific. As for me, I think I get it from my mother, who got it from her grandmother, and who knows how far back it goes.
I had a therapist once and we were discussing this and he said that the three o’clock hour was known as the Hour of the Wolf. The point in the night when you are haunted by your deepest fears, when anxiety holds fast. He said to combat this, he recommended four shots of whisky at the bedside. One for the mother wolf, and then three to follow for each of her cubs. He then laughed and advised against that.
I took Brian in for his MRI on Wednesday. As I said, I suspected tumor progression, but nothing could have prepared me for Sarah’s phone call. As she began to speak, I reached out for Kim’s hand. The glioblastoma that is invading my husband’s brain is growing at an alarming rate. At this point, there are no viable treatment options. Brian has bravely endured his diagnosis. Never once has a complaint crossed his lips. He has borne this burden like no one else could. We likely have a few weeks left together in mortality.
We spent a tender evening together that night and we decided to enroll him in Hospice. I already feel loved and cared for by the hospice team. I believe this transition will be a sacred experience for our family.
Today, I finally received the results of my kidney biopsy. I calmly listened as my APN handed me the diagnosis of renal cell carcinoma. And so it is, I find myself, a 34 year-old mother of two caring for those children and my afflicted husband, stricken with a cancer diagnosis of my very own. I called my mother as tears of anguish and disbelief fell down my cheeks. We went to have a face to face with my APN who was unable to hold back her own tears. We are getting a plan together. Once again I wait. One of my very dearest friends came over tonight after I got home from the doctor. And then I took a hot bath and inhaled an entire (mini) cheesecake that another one of my sweet friends provided for us.
The F. Scott Fitzgerald quote is fitting as I find myself reeling at the onslaught of devastation upon devastation. I feel like I’m standing in ocean water that’s just a little too deep. When a big wave comes, I have to fight to stay standing, but it makes me so tired that soon I fall. The water is cold and heavy and dark and I can’t get my head above the surface. Then comes the panic of losing my breath, swirling beneath the waves and I don’t know where to reach because I can’t tell up from down. All the while, I’m holding my breath waiting for the wave to finish washing through so I can take a breath, try to wipe my eyes, and get my feet under me again.
As Anne Shirley once said, “I am in the depths of despair.” And yes I know Marilla’s response. And right now, I just need a day or two to pick myself back up again.