I had missed him.
I hadn’t realised until I saw it.
He smiled and he meant it
Really meant it.
He smiled and it filled his whole face
He smiled and it reached his eyes
He laughed at a little joke and the laugh was involuntary,
Not a planned reaction to something he knows should be funny.
A fleeting moment when he looked relaxed, at ease, truly enjoying himself.
I hadn’t seen it for such a long time.
He’s been here but not, present
His mind elsewhere, on other things, other worries, other thoughts
Never completely in the moment.
Consumed with concentrating on just getting through
Getting through chemo, getting through resting, to feeling not as bad.
I wasn’t sure about a break from treatment at first.
It was working, it was the thing that was giving him more time
The thing that was slowing it, the cancer, down.
But it was taking its toll.
It was becoming the thing that was killing him.
His body taking longer to recover, needing help, with blood transfusions and injections, to get just well enough for more chemo, but never well.
Chipping away his happiness
Wearing down his spirit
It was breaking him.
Stopping him from enjoying things
From wanting to do anything.
He was getting lost.
The laughter was there but not as loud or as often
The jokes didn’t come as easily
We were weighted down by it all.
It, cancer, was trying to steal more than it already had.
I knew then, the break was a good idea
It was needed
A break from appointments and blood tests and a treatment that takes everything good away.
We know it means the tumours will keep growing
That the pain in his back may get worse and more pain medication may be needed.
But this break is too important
I will not allow it, bastard cancer, to take everything we are away from us.
I want him to feel normal again
I want him to be able to really taste food again
I want him to be able to think a bit more clearly
I want him to be present in the memories we are making
I want him to look forward to what we have planned
To really enjoy the moment
To live the best life we can.
I am prepared to gamble with time
So he can feel, something, again.
Willing to take the risk
Because I have already noticed a difference
Because I would rather have him with me, us, feeling happiness
The person I have always known
As the people we have always been
His soul whole
With us in the light
For as long as that may mean.
Than for longer
Existing in darkness.