Living with a terminal illness is a lifestyle. Certainly not by choice, without a doubt an imposition, but also not a passing phase.
If you want to survive, you have to adapt.
And I have. Uncertainty, discomfort, so fucking much wasted time (waiting rooms–so aptly named), a negative balance in my bank account. I got it.
However, there is one thing I simply cannot get accustomed to. The dying.
Not my own mortality, which I have made a certain peace with. Nope. The fact that I lose so many I care deeply about.
There is no getting comfortable with the constant cycle of loving and losing. Yesterday I learned that someone I feel an intense connection with has entered home hospice. And I am on edge, bracing for the inevitable.
It never gets easier. This, above all else, is the reason I have adapted the war metaphors. Fifteen plus years into this journey I have lost hundreds of friends to lung cancer. It is almost unfathomable. However, in the context of battle, there is the small solace of a common enemy. And I, as someone still standing, must continue to fight.
Not just for my own survival, but in honor of all those who have been taken.
I know how dearly each of them wanted to stay, and what an incredibly random thing continuing survival is. Never a foregone conclusion. Struggle is the only given.
It would be oh so lovely if there was another way. However, in love and war, one must always be alert. That, and grateful for the small mercies.
And I am. Ever vigilant. But also always thankful.