I just spent the last hour and a half watching Rich sleep tonight. I noticed that my own breathing was in sync with his as I watched his chest rise and fall. Before I knew it I was filled with awe as I watched this wonderful man sleeping beside me. (For the record, this is rare. Usually if I’m awake and he is asleep it’s just frustrates me that I can’t sleep). Tonight, all I felt as I watched was my heart swelling.
I began to think what it must be like for him. Rich doesn’t say that much about how he feels emotionally unless he is really happy about scan results or really concerned about something. I thought to myself how he is so brave. I then began to imagine what I would be like if I were in his place. I thought how for me it would probably feel like being adrift in the ocean and just treading water all the time to stay afloat. How tiring that would be. The realty is I really don’t know for sure how I would feel and I have no idea what Rich feels either. I wish I could really understand what he is going through.
I decided to write this post tonight as I was thinking about all of this rather than waiting and trying to write it at a time when the thoughts weren’t as fresh. Before getting up to write, I watched Rich a little longer trying to put a word to how he seems to be dealing with this. The word brave that had come to mind earlier seemed to be lacking something. (Though I wasn’t sure why it seemed to be missing something because I have frequently thought of Rich as brave). Courageous was my next thought.
According to Merriam Webster brave means: having or showing mental or moral strength to face danger, fear, or difficulty and
courage means: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.
Last summer when Rich was diagnosed he was brave. He decided to fight this. I remember when he was waiting for his appointment, to see about the lump in his armpit, he said if he had cancer he didn’t know if he would go on any kind of treatment. As soon as he got the diagnosis he and I were researching treatments and he was calling to make appointments with melanoma specialists. He wanted treatment started as soon as possible. A quote I read a while back said “it’s ok to be scared, it just means you are about to do something really brave.” Rich had fear but he had that mental strength to face the fear head on.
Here we are eight months later and he is the most courageous person I know. He has continued moving forward with treatment. He’s battling diabetes and even through that he has displayed yet more courage. Rich has definitely had the mental strength to persevere AND withstand fear and difficulty.
This has always been within him. It’s not a new thing but it was the rise of those nasty melanoma tumors that also gave rise me seeing how much courage Rich has. I’m not saying it wasn’t there before, it was, it’s always been there but courage has a way of only coming to the surface when we are challenged on some level.
I am actually a little hesitant to post this. My concern is that by sharing what I think about Rich being courageous and strong, he will think he needs to hold things in to stay strong for me. I don’t ever want Rich to think he has to be strong for me or that I might see him differently if he shares more about what is going on in his head. I already see the courage in his actions (the mental strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty) anyway so there isn’t anything he can tell me that can change that.
Since Rich was diagnosed I have known that he seems to be handling this much better than I ever could but I could never put it into words. Tonight, after spending time watching him sleep and writing this post, I can definitely say without any hesitation that Rich is the most courageous person I have ever met in my entire life.