You were my strength when I was weak
You were my voice when I couldn’t speak
You were my eyes when I couldn’t see
You saw the best there was in me
Lifted me up when I couldnt reach
You gave me faith cause you believed
I’m everything I am
Because you loved me

You gave me wings and made me fly
You touched my hand I could touch the sky
I lost my faith, you gave it back to me
You said no star was out of reach
You stood by me and I stood tall
I had your love I had it all
I’m grateful for each day you gave me
Maybe I don’t know that much
But I know this much is true
I was blessed because I was loved by you
~ Diane Warren (for Celine Dion)

Michael has been complaining of headaches and pressure.

This is new.

I know it’s the fluid which is, many times, more dangerous than the tumors which appear to be at a standstill. How long they can stand still is anyone’s guess. He’s on a short round of intense chemotherapy right now. Just a quick whack for 5 days of a high dose. He threw up today for the first time ever. During his 42 day stint of chemo he actually tolerated it very well. But he’s much weaker and eating so much less than he did then.

So I rub his head a few times a day. And yesterday he was watching the local animal advertisements on TV. I don’t know why. It’s something he’s taken to doing. It’s odd. He watches these ad stations and Spanish stations and soccer games in Italian (he doesn’t even like soccer). And when he watches the animal ads, I try not to look because it makes me sad. In fact, after my husband being terminally ill, there isn’t much that could make me as sad as animal pictures from the local shelter.

And the last thing I need is more sad.

But he keeps telling me to get this floppy eared bunny that keeps coming up and I have to look away. Yes, honey, I need a bunny like I need a hole in the head. “He’s cute” Michael will say. “Go get him.”

A bunny.

Sheesh.

If I was to go near the pound, I would be like Molly Shannon in the film, “Year of the Dog” and just take them all home.

And then be locked away.

But Michael tells me, every day, to go adopt the floppy eared bunny. Not a dog. Not a cat. But this bunny. In 12 years I have never heard Michael say a thing about bunnies. Now he’s completely taken in by this little flopper. It’s funny. And cute. And heartbreaking.

So today I was rubbing his head and the animal ad channel was on. They play music as the ads go by and it’s always music that would soften you up and make you want to adopt every animal in the world which I always do anyway. I’ve started to dub it the torture station.

And no matter how much I ask Michael to change it, he finds comfort in watching the pictures of the animals go by. So he is lulled by it and I’m hysterical inside.

So there I was rubbing his head and he was enjoying the animal ads which were breaking my heart one by one and “Because You Loved Me” came on. I said, “Oh honey, this is my song for you.” He probably doesn’t even know the song (honestly, the man is stuck is the 70s somewhere). But he always listens when I tell him it’s one of my songs for him. Since we were first together, he LOVES that I have songs for him. He doesn’t see me as an overly sentimental person (because I’m not) but he loves this one small romantic streak in me. He still has the first mix tape I ever made him in 1996. In fact, he’s made copies of it.

So we were listening…I could tell he was really listening…and when it got to the second chorus, he went “huh” and smiled up at me and then closed his eyes.

And I was rubbing his head. He was down on the couch and I was trying not to cry but the tears just started flowing. And I had my arms outstretched over the arm of the couch and crouching along side it as I massaged his head and kept wiping my face on my arms. I wanted to ask him if he “got” it, but I could tell he did. He even tapped his foot to the music a time or two. And I was grateful for the moment that he knew, really knew, what he meant to me and what an impact he has had on my life.

It was exhausting to rub and cry and try not to make a sound. I didn’t want him to know I was crying because he was enjoying the experience. And the next thing I knew, the tears were streaming down my face, my shirt sleeve was soaked, my heart felt, as usual, like it was breaking into a million pieces and the agony was incredible….

I was ready to start sobbing and begging him to get well….PLEASE GET WELL AND DON’T LEAVE ME…..

……and then I heard gentle snoring coming from him.

He was sound asleep. The massaging, the song…it put him to sleep.

I finished my silent crying as I slowly stopped massaging his head. Then I bent down and gave him a soft kiss on top of his fuzzy little head.

I picked up the remote and changed the torture station before that bunny came on again.

and

silently tiptoed out of the room

grateful for the chance to say, in some small way, thank you.

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