Stolen time

I feel like chunks of time are being stolen from me.

The days in hospital after surgery unable to see my girls. The time in recovery unable to play as much as I want with them. The fatigue and physical limitation after surgery are frustrating. Even when I was at home, I couldn’t be the mum or wife I wanted to be. Sometimes I wonder how long I’ve been more tired or physically limited before realising it. How long this has been sneaking up on me for.

I’ve experienced stolen time before. An entire lifetime of time with Mackenzie was stolen from me. But I also feel like I was absent for years for Tayla and Hazel after Mackenzie died. I know I tried my best each and every day, but I still wonder how much my grief affected Hazel in her early years. How much my mental state impacted Tayla’s mid teen years. Throwing myself into work as a coping mechanism meant that the absence continued (just in a different way) until April 2020 when lockdown hit and Willa was born and I was suddenly home and present fully.

Christmas Eve chemo meant a different Christmas time to normal. The fatigue hit hard. I managed to get up for Santa presents, family presents and cooked pancakes. Then I crawled into bed for a ‘quick rest’. I fell asleep and woke up hours later. I’d slept through the time we were supposed to go out to family Christmas. Tayla and Hazel were picked up (so they wouldn’t miss out on the extended family time), and Greg took Willa and I when we were both up. But I felt disappointed in myself. Why couldn’t I just make it through one day – an important day – without ruining the plans.

I get frustrated at what I can’t do. I couldn’t walk around Willowbank with my brother, sister, nieces and nephew. I missed out on the time with them. I missed out on time with friends, when I haven’t been up to catch ups after surgery. I haven’t been as fun as I want to be with the girls.

But what terrifies me late at night or the early hours of the morning, is how much stolen time is to come. How much of the girls lives I won’t be around to see. What if I’m not around for Willa’s first day of school, the day Hazel is old enough to bike to intermediate herself, or the day Tayla buys her first car. What about my own 40th birthday. Seeing the girls grow up, move out of home and -if they want- become mothers themselves. Nothing in life is certain. I know that. But coming to terms with mortality is damn hard. Not to say I’m resigned to dying or even convinced I will soon. But the odds are not in my favour of dying of old age.

So far, it looks like the first week after chemo isn’t so great, but the next two weeks might just be ok. Which is better than I expected. Chemo is cumulative, so each of the 6 courses will be harder than the last. But hopefully only one week out of every three weeks will be rough. Only one week of stolen time.