By Nicole Clark
My first Christmas with cancer was spent with my husband by my side for an extended hospital stay. It would have been our third Christmas with our three-year-old daughter, but instead, she was at her grandparents’ house which was six hours away. This was the hardest holiday season of my life.
When we checked into our extended stay room, I mentally checked out. I was there on a mission and I wanted to get it done and over with so I could get the hell out of there and back home. All we hear is how quickly time flies by and to enjoy every second we have with our little ones, and now this disease was taking away another memory from my family that I’ll never get back.
In sickness and in health
Our fifth wedding anniversary was spent in separate beds, but his cot was close to mine. He gladly washed my bald head and dressed me. But each time I was awake, I prayed that I could find the strength to make it to the bathroom without passing out because I wanted no part of this man having to wipe my ass, too.
I was bitter. I was surrounded by nurses and doctors instead of friends and family. I was being pumped full of pain medications instead of homemade sweets and turkey dinner. I was in and out of morphine-induced sleep instead of carb comas. I was listening to the constant beeps of machines and shuffles of nurses’ feet instead of excited chatter and Christmas songs. I was measuring my piss for charts instead of measuring milk for cookies. I was wondering “Why the fuck me?” instead of being grateful to be alive. I didn’t feel alive. I felt robbed, yet again.
My worst Christmases made each Christmas I’m here for my best Christmas.