Today is the day. I am the Laundry Thief and my husband, Melanoma Man is four hours away at the Cancer Center. He had his brain MRI and his chest and abdomen CT scans with contrast today. Tomorrow the news, is the experiment working, cancer shrinking, cancer growing? It can be a lonely business. We talked on the phone tonight. He is in the Residence Inn with a fever. He is alone. I am home with oldest son and youngest son and cat and job. So much of this we have to do on our own. I suppose it gets us used to being separate again, just Laundry Thief and just Melanoma Man, rather than Husband and Wife as we have been for the last 15 years.
A newly married Muslim woman at work asked me for marriage advice last week. We'd only just met and she seems to be about 25 years old so I couldn't tell her too much. Coming from a different culture I wasn't sure how to advise so I said: 1) Choose to be happy rather than right. If your husband can believe that the good ideas are his, even though they were yours, things will go so much smoother. 2) Have lots of girlfriends. You will need them.
I didn't say: have sex 3 times a week regardless. It will be the glue that keeps you together when difficult times come and they will come. I didn't tell her about the tests: the death of parents, the birth of children, the evacuation from war, the loss of job, the loss of health, the loss of everything that used to define you. It's too much to tell.
A new me emerges. She was in there all along. The tests bring her out. I want to tuck her in under the comforter and fix her tea and keep her safe, but I cannot. I have to let her out into the world so that others may see her live.