Friday, September 3, 2010

Fabulous (Pity Party) Hat, Part II

SPOILER ALERT: Downer ahead. Bleak.

Death by cancer sucks. That is such an inadequate word, but no synonym I can think of works any better to express the suck factor. A woman I know has been poleaxed by cancer, diagnosed just a couple of months ago and the damn stuff ate the chemotherapy for breakfast, it didn't even hiccup. Having gotten used to uplifting, movie-of-the-week candy-ass depictions of "living with cancer," I am (ludicrously) surprised and bewildered by the reality of cold, implacable and painful death.

So I pray for her every day, for undending blessed morphine, for enough ease of physical and mental pain that she can listen to the voices of family and friends and delight in their presence.

I am embarrassed by my need to say things that are morbidly humorous (to me), because I know that others don't necessarily find them funny. And most of them involve self-pity, which is so appallingly inappropriate, but be fair, I KNOW that, and it deflects some of the pain, and I hate it when people put on their Holy Angel Don't-Look-At-The-Cancer Face and Blessed Pathos Terminal Illness voice when speaking of (or to) the impending dead. Get angry, for God's sake, for their sake, I mean, there's this ghoul in the room -- I'd rather spit at it and make fun of it than tiptoe around it. It's awake, all right? Whispering and cringing won't make it step out of the room.

Ovarian Cancer

None of which I can say, because being mean to sad people won't make it leave, either.

Sorry. I'm not angry at you. You're just here, you know?

In this case the #1 item on my self-pity and recrimination list is that I don't know her very well. Our social orbits intersect at various places. She's intelligent and puckishly witty and kind, makes me feel warmer and a little less dark whenever the orbits coincide. We're going to be friends. I would enjoy trying to make her laugh, and she would lean in with that conspiratiorial tilt of her head and confide some wicked and charming bon mot and make me laugh. She has a gift for being kind that I lack.
Only, we never did that. I don't know if she wanted that, so it also pisses me off that I won't have the opportunity to be pissed off and chagrinned when she gracefully dodges my friendly overtures.
Or did she? Hmm.

What kind of idiot thinks the universe is going to go along with such procrastination?

So. More practice in losing a friend to cancer. I found a good hat after the last lesson, [yes, I'm pitying myself for having to go to another funeral, I already said I know it's inappropriate, so I have a free pass for the remainder of this post. Get off my back.] Maybe gloves this time. Or I could go with the goth black lace parasol like Abby's on NCIS, and draw cannon fire instead of small darts. I wish I knew what the guest of honor will be wearing, I don't want to clash.

Where do you buy black gloves?
[Lucy passed away Sunday morning, September 12, sleeping peacefully, with loved ones present.So many people will miss her.]


  1. You use humor to deal. Anyone who doesn't get that doesn't get much of anything. I feel exactly the same way and was stunned to hear she'd be going to Hospice. I just didn't know it was that bad. Now I feel like a jerk for not being there more and not being the kind of person who makes little sacrifices to give someone else more support. So, bending over in my royal f*** up pose, I plan to pray that life will come to its inevitable conclusion in as peaceful a way as possible. Hospice is really good with that. Maybe we think of ways to be there for her "him" and "little her?" Give me some ideas. We'll take retributive action together.

  2. 1) Abby without stripes is awesome. As soon as she wears stripes I change the channel.
    2) Interesting post. I forgot "poleaxed" was a word but now that you've reminded me, I have to say I think it's very appropriate for relaying the general tone of your post.
    3) Any contact is good contact, right? Guilt-free contact is always good when dealing with big stuff.