Still One

He is 76 years old. A retired salesman, Elks Lodge member, gardener, handyman.  Likes the shore in summer.  He has two sons and, at this late age, the first grandchild on the way.

She is 74 years old. A retired teacher, Den Leader, gardener, exceptional cook. Likes the mountains in winter.  She has two sons and, at this late age, the first grandchild on the way.

Together they love.

The cancer started in the common bile duct.  An aggressive adenocarcinoma, it has spread to the lymph nodes, liver and is invading the right diaphragm.  A small amount of fluid is under the lung.   Dry cough and moderate pain in the right abdomen. This cancer will be highly resistant to treatment. Too late for surgery.  Too big for radiation.  Almost certainly chemotherapy resistant.  Grim prognosis.

She says do not tell him how bad.  Do not tell him the future is terminal. Be vague, gentile and merciful.  If you tell the truth, he will lose hope.  He will become depressed and withdrawn.  He will be hurt.

He says do not tell her how bad.  Talk about tests and goals.  Give therapies illusion.  If she learns about reality, she will lose hope.  She will stop fighting and give up.  She will be hurt.

Apart they love.

I say that she knows in her soul.  Not told is abandoned.  I say he needs to walk with you at this hardest of times.  I say that with you are mercy, comfort and joy.  Bearing the truth, you are still one.  I say in each other’s arms, there will always be Hope.  As he and she there is time.

We talk.  We cry.  We share.  We plan.

Together they love.


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