Crying. Gosh. I’ve never done so much of it in my life, though I’ll check with my mom to see if I was a fussy baby.
There was another time in my life when crying was prevalent. I was in living in a roach-infested brownstone basement in Dupont Circle selecting my apartment decor from curbsides and dumpsters. I was laying the foundation of a career I still have and love in non-profit fundraising and I made no money. I had very little and my life was never more glamorous.
My friends were fascinating, dear, and many. I drank cheap martinis with my pinkie out in one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, listening to foreign languages I couldn’t identify, talking about current events and the most recent thought-provoking novel. My heels were high and worn to the nub from walking, fast, around Adams Morgan, U Street, Georgetown, Connecticut Avenue. And I cried and cried and cried.
About what? Many a night, Mom would get a tearful call around 2am about boys, being poor, bad dates, stubbed toe, spilled milk, more boys. These were real, sobbing, snotty tears. I was in my 20s. They were those sort of tears.
I was talking to my mom a few days ago after Round 4. I told her I needed to drink more water because of how much I cry. These tears, in comparison though, are silent and slow and constant. They creep out at the most unlikely times, usually several times a day. Just a few at a time, they roll slowly down my cheeks using the same path to a drip under my chin.
These are not the hysterical, drunk, splayed on the floor, mascara-smeared tears of my 20s. They come from a deeper sadness. I cry for my caretakers, for myself, over songs, over other cancer patients, because of pain, because I’m afraid. And not just any fear…fear of dying. Did you get that? This is big. I’m sad and scared that I might die.
My tears also come from knowing that every cough or twinge from now on will come with a panic that wasn’t there before. I will definitely need some long-term assistance with water conservation.
On the bright side, I also cry for good news, for progress, out of gratitude, out of love, because of support from nearly everyone I know (and from some I don’t). I cry a lot because we’re fixing this and I believe I won’t die, not for a long time. I’m crying right now.
I certainly don’t write this for pity. Quite the opposite. Crying is good and the appropriate emotional response when sad so I’m totally safe and fine. But, if you see me, please put water in my mouth (and hand me a hankie).