We knew it was going to be this way, back in November, when my partner began the start of what became 8 chemotherapy treatments for beating back the aggressive and malignant tumor that had started uncontrollably growing in June.
Located in his head, where the back of his nose meets his throat, it had spent most of the summer in his sinuses and then spread into his throat glands. Due to our failure at having health insurance, it took a number of months before he began to receive western medical treatment. As a result, the cancer had metastasized into his liver by fall.
We knew we were at the start of his long, dark night of the soul.
However, we were grateful to spend both a Thanksgiving evening and a Christmas adventure together with our son that was relatively pain free and enjoyable.
Dealing with the chemotherapy was hard. Yet, I knew that even as I was watching my partner shrink, due to nausea and regular vomiting, as well as his struggle with the loss of his taste buds, & thus his desire to eat, we were not anywhere near the bottom of the trench we were headed for.
Burt began a 7-week regimen of daily proton radiation treatment for his upper neck and head cancer the day after Christmas.
You can’t imagine what it is like to watch your rock shrivel into a pebble and to know that you can no longer lean into this person as you once have; that this person needs a break in order to just focus on his health and healing. And that, in fact, this person needs you to now be the rock.
Fortunately, Burt has an indomitable Spirit, so even has he has spent the past ten months either suffering in pain or resting as a means to proliferate healing, his emotional presence has still been felt, by both me and our 4-year old.
And, at the start of all of this, my mother reached out to me – after a 3-year estrangement – to let me know that, after 36 years, they were selling the home I had grown up in and moving up to northern California, where they would be closer to their other children and grandchildren.
Grateful to have the opportunity to grieve the loss of both the house at 3586 Ridge Road as well as the absence of my family of origin for those three years, I allowed my sobbing chest to be rocked by a current of tears.
Yet, I also intuitively understood that I was being offered the chance to make amends with my parents, by showing up and helping my mother with her letting go process around the house, and that it was, more than likely, my long goodbye to them – as I knew that no real healing or resolution would come out of our time spent together.
On the eve of 2019, we hugged and said “Goodbye.”
During this long, cold and dark winter, I also had to disband the learning garden I had co-created for my son, along with dozens of other children.
Back in 2016, when I began our co-op, I did so from the place where my mother wound (click here to read more about our global mother wound) was running the show. I felt the need to prove my worth and I prioritized other people over mine and my family’s needs. I also entered into an unjust financial agreement, and I even put my family at risk.
When I tried to make the necessary changes, I felt unsupported. It was heartbreaking to witness this happening at the apex of my family’s health crisis. And yet, I could not deny that I was at the helm of all of it.
So, I let it go.
And, here we are.
Spring has sprung, bringing with it a loss of the structure that provided both my son and I with nearly 10 hours a week of meaningful interactions and real-time human connection.
As a result, my mind began to spin. With that full Equinox Moon, the embodied fear that has paralyzed me for my entire life and has kept me a prisoner within my own head, reared its large, monstrous, beast-like shape.
I succumbed to negative thinking and a little bug got into my immune system. I also put too much pressure – yet again! – on myself to experience an overnight transformation, from the dark of winter to the light of spring, on March 20th.
In response, anxiety, depression, fear – it is all here, too. Letting it crash against me like waves to a rock, I was imploding from the inside out.