Picking up at page 116
THE DAY THE office closed for the Thanksgiving vacation, Margaret
came to pick me up. I made my good-byes. I had tried to keep a stiff
upper lip for several weeks, but this time I couldn't do it. So many
people wished me good luck, embraced me, assured me that they
would be thinking of me, or praying for me, that I could feel tears in
my eyes by the time we reached the elevator. I was sure — well, almost
sure, anyway — that I would be coming back here, but when, and in
what shape? I felt as if I were closing a chapter of my life, and of
course the truth is, I was. Before and after prostate-cancer surgery, as
I would discover, are different worlds, and you cannot imagine the
second when you are still in the first.
Thanksgiving weekend Margaret and I spent together quietly, trying not to think about what lay in store for both of us. I had no doubt
that Margaret's role would be as difficult as mine ಋ perhaps in some
ways more difficult, because everyone's attention is naturally focused
on the patient's problems, whereas the fears, problems, and feelings of
the patient's spouse or companion go largely ignored. It's not just that
sickness often results in a reversal of roles ಋ the strong person in a relationship may suddenly become the weak one, the caretaker needs
caring for, the person who has always looked after things now needs
looking after, and so forth — it also creates feelings that can't be acknowledged, that can't, perhaps, even be admitted to oneself.
It's hard to argue with a man who has cancer, and even harder to
be angry with him, and yet women often do feel anger, inevitably —
anger that their lives are being upset, anger at being abandoned,
however innocently; for serious illness is a kind of abandonment, in
which the patient becomes totally immersed in his own case, in his
own health, his own needs.
Selections reproduced at www.phoenix5.org with the kind permission of the author.
Copyright © 1996, 1997 by Success Research Corporation