Christmas has been suprinsingly normal. The usual family politics took over, people not being where they should when they should etc. I found myself very angry at it all, couldn't people make more of an effort!!!? however I also found it refreshingly predictable.
In fairness (people have made an effort), everyone has spoiled our son, who has got pretty much everything he wanted, and more!! He is desparate to show off all his new toys to his friends, but it is difficult having people over. Our normal christmas state would be a round of entertaining and he would have had plenty of opportunity to show off all his new stuff. This year, he seems to have moved in at the neighbours, they are great with him and he is happy to play with their son. They are also very hospitable to me, I think i am slowly making my way through their wine rack! (but i feel very guilty about this).
Today i was feeling very angry with the whole thing, and decided to tap into the works of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross (1929). I find myself to be a typical example of all that she says is wrong with the dying process. I am trying so hard to stick with politeness and societal norms of behaviour that i am, in fact making it harder for my husband (and probably my son) than it should be. I want to reciprocate to everyone's kindness and feel resentful that I cannot, as I am also aware that next year, as a single person i will be outside of the family scene that i interact with, and the social world i know will be very different (although a friend has pointed out that this is more my fear than a reality).
Kubler-Ross says there are five stages to grief; Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. Reflecting on it, I can't find any sign of denial or bargaining within my psychological response to the cancer journey, but i have experienced and still am experiencing anger, depression and acceptance. I seem to move quite fluidly through all three of these stages. Although i suppose the "wanting to carry on as normal" is denial, so perhaps it is there too.
I often am very intolerant of things that shouldn't be an issue. Today we went out for lunch and i got fed up with the slow service and marched up to ask them to be quicker, normally this would not matter that much, but today i thought it was outrageous! (Kevin can't sit in uncomfortable chairs for too long) Often in the late evening, in my struggle to juggle all the many facets of my life, i wonder why am i bothering, what is the point? Then at other times I feel peaceful and determined to deal with this positively and help everyone through who is also on this journey.
Reading Kubler-Ross' work I really identified with what she was saying about the social taboos of death. She says that society makes it taboo, whereas it should be regarded as a stage of life. This interests me, because i can see that is what i am doing (trying to avoid the changes). I feel terrible guilt to our friends, especially those we have known since Kevin had cancer, could we have spared them this? I almost want to apologise to them for putting them through it. I didn't want to socialise at any of the christmas parties, it seemed wrong to bring my "Kevin has a few months left" message to the usual christmas cheer messages that were expected. Every time our neighbours give me a glass of wine, i want to run home and get some bottles and bring them back because i feel i am not contributing to the party! However, it is amazing how society does shape our behaviours and most people respond with a "we must go out for a drink sometime, it will cheer you up" - why? Becuase we don't really know any other way of responding! And in fairness to Kevin, that is all he wants to do anyway, carry on as normal for as long as he can, but maybe with some slight modifications that will allow him to be there and interact as long as possible. So please ignore the morphine swigging and extra pillows we bring, and just keep calm and carry on!