The Questions I Don't Know How To Answer

Not AgainImage by califmom via Flickr

Sometimes they’re the simple ones, the innocent questions asked by the clerk at the grocery store, like “Have you had a good day so far today?” or  “Do you have anything fun planned for the holidays?”

That second one stopped me cold last night.

What do we have planned for the holidays? What do we have planned, period?

We don’t really have the luxury of planning anymore. Every single day is lived at the mercy of a disease that controls our lives. We choose only how we react. That’s it.

There is no planning.

Back to the questions. Bob handed me one today that ruined me. It’s why I’m sitting here, in the library, writing instead of at home celebrating my son’s 13th birthday. I can’t celebrate, yet. I have to put my pieces back together first.

“I know this is morbid, but I really think you should review our life insurance policy.”

Not really a question, but it was. The subtext was, will our life insurance policy take care of me and the kids if cancer is the cause of his death.

I don’t want to know the answer to that question. Not on my son’s birthday. Not before I’ve put up our Christmas tree. Not before I’ve wrapped a single present or baked a single cookie. Not while I’m trying to drive a car. Not while I’m helping my daughter with her school work. Not now. Not today. Not yet. Not ever. I do not want to know.

But, I’d be lying if I said I haven’t had that same question come into my head in the middle of the night, when his breathing is labored, when I’m scared, when he’s scared but doesn’t want me to know. The problem with saying it to each other is that we’ve given it life. Now it’s out here in the real world.

I don’t want it to have life. I want it to stay in my head where I can tuck it back into the recesses of the “what ifs” instead of out here in the light of probabilities.

I’m supposed to be celebrating my son’s life today—his 13 years of life. Instead, I’m hiding in a bag-lady ensemble in the library, passing off my crumb-covered sweater as the latest in hipster writer garb and my sniffles as allergies, so I can work through pulling my head out of my ass enough to go home and do the one thing he asked us to do to celebrate with him today—play Rock Band.

Simple request. I just hope I don’t have to sing Aqualung. That’ll really ruin my day.