I string words into sentences. I make conversation with my family for brief periods throughout the day, but my mind is barely present. I wonder if they know. Do I look as vacant-eyed as I feel?
Can they see the elephant of worry standing on my chest?
I shower some days, get dressed, accompany Bob to daily appointments, driving when he isn’t strong enough to drive himself. This simple process drains all of my energy, yet I’m not the one who’s sick.
I rub his muscles when they get sore, sit next to him on the bed, change the sterile dressing on his central venous catheter in his chest, and track his appointments on a master calendar.
I often forget to bring in the mail, rarely open it, and depend on family to do the laundry, cook and clean.
I know that there are things I may regret in the future and things I will not. If I could glue myself to my husband right now, I wouldn't regret it for a moment. I would, however, regret gluing myself to the dishwasher. If we have to buy paper plates and plastic utensils and turn our underwear inside out, we'll make do.
I lie awake at night like a mother of a newborn, listening to her child’s breaths in the bassinet alongside her bed, unable to sleep.
I am counting the days.
I count the days I have left that I will be able to lie next to him before he is in the hospital.
I count the days before I won’t be allowed to kiss him.
I count the days before I will have to wear a mask and gown to be in the same room with him.
I count the days before I hope all of these things will be possible, because if they don’t become a reality, I will be counting different days.