The Big C

A journey through Stage Four Cancer

Warts and All

on January 2, 2011

So after conferring with some people in the blog world that I really respect, you’re getting the “wart” version of The Big C – Catholic, Cancer, Cured

I’ve been depressed lately, not horribly depressed, niggling depressed.  Just not really all sunshiney, because there is something in the back of my mind.  Kind of like your computer.  You are using a program, but there is a second, may-be even a third program working in the background.

That’s me.  I’m being a mom, wife, best friend, blogger (livingroom vacuumer, toilet scrubber, clothes folder) while there is another program running in the back.

I’m not “running” the way that I should be because this other program is using my RAM.

I guess before I go any further, I should remind everyone that I am Catholic, and that is where my “weighing” of activity comes from (or I try to have it be.  At my worst times, I am not acting Catholic).   I am saying this ahead of time, because when you read the following you would probably say, “Cheez, what is the problem anyway?”

The problem has been two dreams I had on two different nights.  They happened very close together.  They were nightmares.

Here are the dreams.

In the first dream, It is 4:30 and it is getting dark.  One daughter is sitting on the couch and she doesn’t look happy.  She’s not crying or anything, but I know she isn’t in a good place.

Another daughter is sitting at the diningroom table, her math book open in front of her.  She is writing in a notebook, and she looks really sad.  The math is giving her a hard time.

She should have the light on while she fights her math problems, so I say “Chandra, you should have the light on.”  I flick on the light.  She doesn’t even look up, she still stares at the math book.  I stand slightly behind her, looking at the math.  It’s difficult, but I know she can do it.  I hunch down a little and put my arm around her.  “Look Chandra, remember this?  Don’t let it get you down.”  She sighs, sits forward and starts to work again.

I walk to the couch where Luna sits.  “What’s the matter?” I ask sitting down next to her and rubbing her arm.  She doesn’t answer.  The look on her face never changes and I know she is giving me the Stony Teenager Affect.  Fine.

It’s almost time for my dh to come home so I go into the kitchen to start browning hamburger meat for supper.

Nathan is home and as he walks up the short flight of stairs he calls out “I’m home.”  None of the kids answer, but I do.

“Welcome home!” I call back and at the top of the stairs I wrap my arms around him and kiss him.  He doesn’t kiss me back.  He has a set, slightly angry look on his face.

He walks into the kitchen, takes out a nonstick frying pan, puts some thawed hamburger into it and puts it right on top of my frying pan on the stove.

“What are you doing?!!”  But he ignores me, and continues cooking the hamburger in a frying pan over my frying pan.

I have to pee, so I leave my husband to his weirdness and use the bathroom. Just as I’m heading toward the sink, my husband walks right in and to the toilet, almost knocking me over into the bathtub.

“Excuse me!!!”

I stand at the sink washing my hands.  Instead of waiting for me to get out of the way, he reaches past me to start washing his hands.

My face was in the mirror, now it is my husbands face in the mirror.  I force my face to be in front of his again, and I see my face.  But as I stare, I see my eighteen year old face staring back at me and for moments at a time, I can’t see my face at all.

I turn to my husband.  “Am I a vampire?” I joke.  “I can’t see my face in the mirror.”

He doesn’t answer.

“What, am I dead or something?  Why are you ignoring me?”  Then it dawns on me.


I look in the mirror, but my image doesn’t look back.

I push past my husband and rush into the living room.  I take Luna by her arms to pull her up, but she doesn’t move.

“Luna!” I shriek like a madman.  She ignores me completely.

I hurry over to Chandra.  Chandra isn’t a teenager.  She would never ignore me.  Chandra will help me prove that this is just ….  I don’t know.

“Chandra.” I say scooting down next to her and putting my arm around her.  She still struggles with her math.  “Chandra, look at mommy.”

She looks up and I kiss her.

She doesn’t look over at me, but sighs again and starts on the math again.

I get the AHA! moment.  They can’t see me, they can’t feel my hugs and kisses.

I am dead.

Now I know, this is just a dream and nothing more.

I thought that I had gotten past the “death” bugaboo.  I know that you never really get totally past it – no one really does because the older you grow (no matter how healthy) the more susceptible to death you get.  But really, it has to reside in my subconscious and emerge in my dreams?

As a Catholic, my dream is troubling in another way.  Our faith tells us that we die, go to our own “private” judgement and our immortal souls either go to hell (God forbid!), purgatory, or heaven until the time that our souls reunite with our (now) glorified bodies.

I am not supposed to wander around in my family home, without a body, not knowing that I am dead.  And definitely NOT trying to communicate with my living family. (It is forbidden in the Old and New Testament for the living to try to raise or communicate with the dead.)

The Catholic faith doesn’t address this at all, but I’ve heard it in secular sources, and I wonder: Am I so attached to my family, that I can’t leave them, and I’m doomed to ‘haunt’ them – unseen, unheard.  People I love more than anything or anyone, and I can’t communicate with them.

It’s only a dream, and I try to push it out of my mind.

But it runs in the background.


One response to “Warts and All

  1. sherri says:

    i sit here and weep….

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