Is that so?

I texted Ken a message expressing some humor about the predicament that he and Barbie are in (the latest news from their oncologist is that Barbie is a poor candidate for chemo treatment due to her poor health and, yes, the way things are going she is going to die) as well as an offer for the sacrament of the sick.

The response has been silence. Other members of the family are involved in the life and death drama that is being played out in their Sun City home. Whether they are invited or simply drop-in I’m not sure, but I’m on the sidelines feeling shunned and not too sure about what to do.

It’s no secret that there’s been no love lost between Ken and I. Even as a little kid, I tried always to get him into trouble. I became jealous that he was the favorite boy of grandpa Felix and dad. Due to his asthma, he was exempted from mowing the lawn. True, we had a brief bonding when I substituted for him on his paper route with his Chrysler Cordoba. Then I got my own route with the Wall Street Journal. All this was an attempt to address a heavy credit card debt which I managed to erase. For a time, at least. It was part of the insane behavior that drove me into 12 step recovery.

Ironic, Ken’s help was somewhat instrumental in me getting into Alcoholics Anonymous. I mused last night that, when Barbie goes, his drinking will re-emerge with a hideous vengeance. And he’ll swear that he’ll be fine.

So, as everyone in my family and Barbie’s scurries around to try to be useful, to avoid feeling the frightening gasp of helplessness that Ken and Barbie feel most acutely, I’m on the sidelines feeling only the helplessness that can be experienced in a time like this.

Sacrament of the Sick? That’s my specialty. Being able to listen and console, I’m available but I suspect that they’re busy planning, plotting and scheming how they can “beat” this disease. No time to sit down and face fears, they want to stay busy, stuff the feelings and engage the battle with the foe.

So, here I am with my arms and heart laden with therapeutic and pastoral goodies and they rush on by. My helplessness is that I can’t even partake in their drama of helplessness. Ouch!

And, so it is. Their drama calls for them to be noble and brave of heart in the face of the deadly onslaught of their Beowulf-cancer. I watch and wait. So it is.


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