Today hospice decided to give Michael a bit of a walk. He hasn’t been out of bed in about a month because of his weakness and he seemed a little more alert today so they took him from the bed to the wheelchair and had him walking while holding onto them.

He was trying to do it and shaking the whole time. He’s so thin and so gaunt and fighting fiercely to stay upright. Walking scares him and he gets nervous very fast but he wants to move around.

As he walked, or shuffled, slowly and I watched him holding tightly to the hospice worker I had a flash of him bouncing through the room when he was well. He always came in full of energy and yelling “Hello?” to me and Gina. So many days we’d be on the couch and laugh because we would hear the garage door open and we would go “3, 2, 1…hello???” as he would call it up the stairs. It was SO predictable. The exact same greeting every single day.

Then he would come in and say, “What’s going on?” Always the same thing…he would be talking as he was raiding the refrigerator.

ADHD people can be and usually are just a ball of energy and Michael was no exception. And for the hellos? and the what’s going on?‘s he never even waited for or even expected an answer.

We used to just laugh. He was so predictable and so funny. We would just look at each other and continue watching whatever we were watching until he came in and said, “What’s this $%!T?” when we were watching all day marathons of some reality show. And again we would be amused. He didn’t get the whole reality show thing and we thought that was funny too.

Today I was watching him move slowly across the room and remembering that bounding bundle of energy that was Michael.

I was overcome with sadness. With the way this disease has stripped away the person I loved…the person whose energy lit up a room…and how thin he is and how scared this man, who was never afraid of anything, is of falling. Just the act of walking 10 feet scares him so. It’s not fair and it’s not okay.

Michael has always been selfless since he’s been sick. In the radiation unit he used to be upset over the sick kids. How could this happen to kids? he would ask me every single time. He would comfort younger patients in their 20s and gave so much strength to a young woman about to have a biopsy. He whispered to me, “She has little kids at home. They need their mom.” Whenever she saw him, her eyes would light up. He made her feel secure in having the biopsy.

The radiation unit also had inmates from the prison coming in and Michael felt sorry for them too. He would say how much it would suck to be in prison with cancer, without your family to care for you. He said it without regard to what they might have done in life. Most of the inmates were minimum security prisoners so none of them had really done anything that dastardly and Michael felt sorry for them being so sick away from home. He felt sorry for the kids and their parents and the young parents and even the prisoners. He spent almost all of the time on the radiation unit feeling sorry for everyone but himself.

So today I felt sorry for him and sorrow for who he was and how what cancer has done to him. For all the times he greeted me with a hello? that I never answered but I would always smile. Today I cursed the disease and I missed the man it has taken from me.

And I hate it.

I hate the disease so very much.

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