2014 has been a profoundly painful and difficult year for me although it did start off with an inspiration that seemingly came out of nowhere:
right past midnight
i look for the feel of her hand
warm and soft among the sheets
i am falling in love again
The words came to me a little past midnight on January 3. I wrote it down with ink on paper and gave it to her before breakfast. She was ‘kilig’ the whole weekend.
January also arrived with small reminders of our passing age. The hot flashes came — what we thought were a sign of pre-menopause. It was inconvenient but manageable. We kept a wary eye on it but we generally ignored it.
February came with more inspiration. It was a courtship:
skin on skin
your warmth mixing with mine
i slip under a blanket of sleep
But then in the same month small nodes started to appear around her neck and jaw and she started losing weight for no apparent reason which silently worried us as well.
With March came Robin’s high school graduation which, unfortunately, we couldn’t attend because March also brought the tests, probes, a biopsy and more tests.
By April it had a name — Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma — cancer of the lymph tissue. The shadow finally has a name.
The first chemotherapy was in May. It was also the month when I made a promise to my mom and then a few weeks after she passed away. I kept that promise, mom.
Two chemotherapy cycles accompanied June. The medicines were taking their toll but by this time almost all of the lymph nodes have disappeared. Things are finally looking up.
A complication popped up in July — a very small lesion in her brain caused by a small brain tumor was discovered. The next 22 days after the discovery was allocated for radiation therapy to kill the tumor. The next chemo cycle had to wait.
It was almost the end of August when we were able to continue with the chemotherapy and by that time the lymph nodes in her abdominal area had grown back. It also took almost two weeks before they could give the chemo meds because her electrolyte levels had to be normalized. We were able to go home around mid-September.
A week after coming home, she developed a fever. A blood test was done and the numbers didn’t look good. We were ordered back to the hospital. Tests indicated pneumonia and a fungal infection and she was given a battery of antibiotics to help her already low immune system combat it. After two weeks of antibiotics the pneumonia was gone and the infection was finally drying up. But it also took it tremendous toll on her. She passed away in her sleep early morning of the 2nd of October.
The support of friends and family helped us survive the rest of the year. I truly do not know how we could have managed without them. We are eternally grateful.
It was a beautiful, beautiful life, babe. Thank you for shining more than half of yours on mine. I shall ever miss you until the next lifetime.