I want to take a moment to say something here.
We all share these little messages of inspiration. Particularly prevalent are the support cancer messages, due in large part to the fact that pretty much everyone knows someone who endured this disease. The inspirational scripting often asks us to share expressions of support for a loved one going through the treatments, or for the family living through the nightmare with the patient. But what I have yet to see, seriously, is a message supporting the spouse or caregiver of a cancer “thriver”.
When you think about it, they have the most difficult job of all. The “support system” in place for the person that is enduring long, painful and quite frankly frightening therapy is the first thing we all think of when we’re looking at the face of cancer. However, deep in the shadows quietly stands the person that drives the patient to and fro, picks up the slack, sometimes endures watching a person going from being strong and hale to becoming weak and physically incapable in some cases.
People’s hearts reach far and wide to a patient that endures bravely, and they often extend the virtual group hug to family and friends, but the one person that should truly be given the most loving high-five is most often the one person doing all the behind the scenes work. More often than not, without a single thank you.
With my Father, his beautiful wife Rose ensured that he was kept smiling and positive during his journey. Presently, through this last leg of Ma’s treatment, her life partner Guy has taken up the slack. He’s taken on the housework, groceries, shipping her to and from every single appointment, held her when she finally became overwhelmed with the pain, gave up a lot of his special pleasures in life to make sure she was kept safe, warm, and most importantly, feeling cherished and supported.
As she enters the scariest part of her treatment this week, where they will be irradiating her brain, he’s been told to prepare for her to have a bit of a rough ride.
It’s hard on my sister and I. It’s hard on everyone that’s been praying for her to come through this healthy and restored. But it’s going to be hardest on this man who will have to deal with her enduring the side effects of her treatments.
So…I want to extend my warmest, most sincere hugs to everyone that has ever had to directly watch a loved one go through cancer, or any other debilitating or possibly life threatening disease. You may think it’s a thankless job, but those that live on the sidelines thank you from the bottoms of our hearts.
What you have done is nothing short of selfless. Where we could not, you did. And, for this, I’m personally grateful to each and every one of you that have endured. Your suffering was not in vain, and it’s much more appreciated than you may realize.