Who’s in Control Here?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Who’s in control here? I am having a bit of Spring fever, clean out, decorate, remodel, find a way to control my surroundings moment!

When Dave had Hodgkins’ Lymphoma and was on chemo for a year, Leah as only 18 months old at the onset. His treatments were started on October 31, 1998 and completed on October 13, 1999. I was thankful to have a child that required a lot of my time to focus on her well being, maintain a routine and give me plenty to do. But I also needed an outlet for what I couldn’t control. So I remodeled the kitchen. Competely! I stripped the varnish from the cabinets and refinished with oil-based paint, had a new stove installed, extended the countertop and had an eating table built in, and then changed out the flooring. So Dave practically went to bed one year and awoke to a new kitchen the next. We’ve laughed over this many times because this was just one of the things in my life I could control at the time. So I did.

I can’t control Dave’s cancer now. (I couldn’t then, either)  But, I don’t have that same kind of energy anymore to maintain the household, work my business, and remodel. Yet, I still want to find what in my environment I can control.

Back then the circumstances were sooo different: Hodgkins could be cured. I had a child dependent upon me. The future looked bright, hopeful. There would still be “us” at the end of that journey. Today, Dave’s lung cancer is incurable. Leah is grown and making her own life (as it should be). The outcome here is predictable: Dave will die.

If I change my environment now I begin to reshape life for me, not for us. “Us” ceases in my environment and home is the heart and symbol of our lives together. This feeling has to be the one that keeps a parent from changing the bedroom of a child who has died; the widow who can’t move from her home that is too big; the child who holds on to every physical item left of a parent.  It is very powerful urge – to change and not change at the same time. Yet, change is overcoming us, me. Our paths of life are splintering like the life lines etched into one’s palm. What intersects, what does the future hold? Who can make sense of the creases? How can I re-draw these lines? What part can I control?

I had a reality moment yesterday. One of those reminders of what I personally face that no one can predict would make a person want to cry. I was filling out some medical paperwork with the question about who to contact in case of an emergency? I wrote down David L. Hitchens. Then I thought, no, he couldn’t help me in case of an emergency. I scratched out Dave’s name and turned the L into Leah. From a family of three to two. The changes I can’t control are already upon us.

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