Boy meets girl

by Kimberly on September 1, 2014

in Grief,One I Love

Boy meets girl.
Boy and girl fall deeply in love.

Boy gets cancer.
Aggressive non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
He gets radiation and chemotherapy.
He almost dies, more than once.
Girl gets terribly scared.
She doesn’t know what she would do if boy died.
She runs away.
Boy is heartbroken.
Girl is heartbroken, too, but so scared.

Boy survives cancer.

Years pass.
Girl and boy live far apart.
They see each other at friends’ weddings.
There is always a spark, and always her fear.
Some years they talk.
Other years they don’t.
They fall in love with other people.
Boy marries. Girl doesn’t.
Girl’s relationship ends. Boy’s marriage ends.

One night, boy calls girl.
They talk for hours.
Girl and boy have never stopped loving each other.
One year later, girl moves west to be with boy.
Two years later, boy and girl get married.
They’ve known each other for 17 years.
They’re going to live happily ever after.

Boy and girl have been married for 3 years.
Boy has just walked a marathon for cancer.
Boy isn’t feeling well.
Boy has heart failure.
It’s a long-term side effect of cancer treatment.
Girl is scared, but she doesn’t run away.
With drugs and lifestyle changes, boy gets better.

Boy survives heart failure. Girl survives her fear.
Girl and boy never stop loving each other.
They plan to live happily ever after.

Boy and girl have been married for 5 years.
Boy gets oral cancer.
It’s a long-term side effect of cancer treatment.
It takes twelve hours of surgery to remove the tumor.
The surgery is successful.
Boy can’t swallow for 10 months.
Boy and girl both get depressed.
Girl is scared, but she doesn’t run away.
Boy and girl both get help.

Boy and girl, and their relationship, survive boy’s second cancer.
Girl and boy never stop loving each other.
They hope to live happily ever after.

Boy and girl have been married for almost 15 years.
Boy gets oral cancer again.
This time, doctors suggest radiation and chemotherapy.
Boy gets his first chemotherapy on their 15th wedding anniversary.
Boy gets seven weeks of twice-daily radiation.
Doctors think the treatment has worked.
But they’re wrong.
It takes twelve hours of surgery to remove the tumor.
The surgery is successful.

After surgery, girl takes boy home from the hospital.
But boy has complications.
Boy’s body retains fluids.
He goes back to the hospital.
Doctors give him drugs to fix that.
Doctors also find a clot in his arm from an IV line.
Doctors give him drugs to fix that.
Girl takes boy home.
Boy gets a spontaneous bleed in his calf.
Doctors gave him too high a dosage for the clot.
He goes back to the hospital.
Doctors do surgery to fix bleed.
The surgery is successful.
Girl takes boy home.

Boy and girl are tired and scared.
But boy is feeling better.
Girl and boy love each other.
They are hopeful.

One evening, girl comes home from work.
Boy and girl talk about their days.
Boy starts to feel weak and cold.
Boy’s blood pressure is too low.
Girl calls 911.
EMTs arrive in minutes.
Boy stops breathing.
Boy’s heart stops beating.
EMTs do CPR for 19 minutes.
Finally, boy’s heart starts beating again.
EMTs take boy to the hospital.
The next day, doctors diagnose massive infection.

But everything that makes boy boy
Everything that girl loves so much
Is already gone.
Girl knows what boy would want.
Girl gives consent.
Doctors turn off the machines.
Boy dies in girl’s arms.

OH GOD, BOY DIES?
How did that happen?
Boy is not supposed to die!
How could boy die?
HE’S MY BOY! AND I’M HIS GIRL!
And I didn’t run away this time! I stayed!
And we never stopped loving each other!
We are supposed to live happily ever after, dammit!

WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS FUCKING STORY?

Girl is terribly scared, and terribly sad.
Girl howls and cries and screams.
Girl’s worst fear has come true, 33 years later.
She doesn’t know what she will do now that boy has died.

Girl misses boy.
Girl will always miss boy.

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I want to go home.

by Kimberly on March 1, 2014

in Grief,One I Love

On March 1, eighteen years ago, Paul and I finished the cross-country drive from Houston to Mountain View. After a year and a half of rekindling our relationship long-distance, I was leaving my life in Texas and moving to California to be with him. But when five days on the road were over, and I walked into the rather spartan apartment he’d rented for us, I wailed, “I want to go home.” Paul, being Paul, held me close while I cried, and then figured out how to soothe my fear and homesickness. And home became the life that we made together, first in the Bay Area, and later here in Seattle.

Each of the past seventeen years, March 1 was one of several anniversaries Paul and I celebrated.

Today, as I made my coffee and fed the cats and chickens and did chores around the house and cried more than a few times, I kept thinking I want to go home. But I can’t, because home isn’t Houston or California, or even our lovely old house in Seattle. Home is Paul’s chest to cry on when I’m sad or tired or scared (which I am much of the time these days), and the ways he knew to soothe me… and so much more. And I can’t have that home ever again.

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