No one ever called me faint-hearted. I am plenty spunky and positive by nature, but I never wanted to be a soldier – although labor, delivery, and motherhood must come fairly close; putting one’s life on the line to give life to another and then spending one’s time tending, nurturing, and protecting that life seems a little “soldierish” to me. I felt the pangs of battle from time to time while raising my children, but thankfully they turned out to be lovely human beings who have graced my life with ten perfect grandchildren. Did I mention they are prolific?
Anyway, once I learned I had cancer, bravery betrayed me and walked off the job. I needed a foxhole; a place to hide out in and some time to process and get used to the idea that I had cancer. Monty (my husband) thought we should tell our families and our best friends. He said the support would feel good and that our families would want to know. I couldn’t make the calls because I was too busy wondering about my fate and crying about what I didn’t know – and oh yes, praying frantically. Fortunately I was not a total hypocrite since prayer and meditation were already a part of my life, but I called in all my chips as I pleaded for calmness, and to know the clear path toward healing. I expected guidance and I expected to live a long life like my parents and grandparents and I began asking for it. It took all my attention and energy.
Thus, a most unlikely soldier was born that afternoon. Usually clad in suit and tie and running a large company (an administrative genius if I do say so myself) now he was dressed comfortably, phone in hand and pacing as he spoke. I saw a side of my husband I had never seen before to such a degree. He made call after difficult call and shielded me from everything. I was safe in my bedroom dealing with my overwhelming emotions while he kept his head about him and delivered the news to the people we loved the most. Over and over he said the tactful words he had chosen and over and over he reassured and comforted others. Between calls he would check on me, stroke my head for a minute, tell me everything would be fine (liar!), and that we’d get through this (truth!).
He called all our families, Monty has six other siblings, I have four others. Both our parents are alive and we are quite close to a number of aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews. I have several “best” friends who would have felt betrayed if I had excluded them from the list. So Monty took over and I was never so aware of his strength. I feel such gratitude and appreciation for his masculine energy that made such a good soldier out of him when I needed him the most. It seems clear we will face this together. A most comforting beginning to what surely will be an arduous journey.
© 2007 Julia Andrus