Sunday, March 22, 2020


I've written this blog since December 2008.  Over the years, I've done my best to keep my family matters quiet.  I've written about Wife and daughter occasionally, but I never name them to maintain privacy, as well as security.

Wife is a very private person.  Strange, isn't it?  That she would marry someone who spills their guts in writing for so long.  Before I was thrown out, it was like we were total opposites when we went out- I was full of noise, alcohol, and bluster, all covering my inner pain and insecurities.  But really, we are far more alike than different, especially at home.

At the park- a creepy tree

As I've written many times, I write this blog to get things out of my system.  Maybe it's good that so few read any more.  I wasn't going to write about this, but in this time of isolation, in this time of deep depression... I need to talk about this.

Yesterday morning, I drove east to see Wife and daughter.  I have so much work to do, yet I knew that if I didn't go then, it may be a month or more until I see them again.  I needed to see them- to hug my daughter- to pretend for a moment that everything would be ok.

We went to Wendy's in Oaks, drive through of course, then over to the nearby Lower Perkiomen Valley Park.  Wendy's was out of regular coke, so I got cherry coke, and Wife got a lemon coke.  We ate, talking about Daughter's school work and mine.  The sun shone hot through Wife's car windows, making me sweat a little.

Wife then said she had something to tell me that she wanted to say in person.  My heart sank instantly- nothing good ever followed those worlds.

Wife told me she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  It was caught very early- there is a 99% chance of a total cure.  She'll find out Monday if she'll have a lumpectomy or total mastectomy.  She'll tell me when the surgery will happen, but doesn't want me to be there.  She doesn't want pity.  She doesn't want a fuss.

That's how she is.

Daughter was told Friday night.  I understand how she feels- I was in college at PSU when I received a call from my mum saying that she'd had surgery for cancer- past tense.  It was already done.  I remember that surreal feeling of "mum has cancer."

This was different.  Wife and I have been together nearly 30 years.  Next month will be 27 married.  (6 1/2 separated.) To hear the person whom I promised before God and a congregation of loved ones to love, honor, and cherish "all the days of you life until death do you part" tell you she has cancer...

I can't describe that feeling.  I can't.

Hell, I'm crying while typing this.  Daughter and I talked a little later, when she accompanied me to the Wawa to get gas for the trip back to State College.  I told her that it felt like a brick in my stomach.  She told me she was "terrified."  I told her I was too.  I told her that I knew in my head that Her mother would pull through this with flying colors, that the chance of total cure was 99%, and that her mother is tough... but it would take a while for that to get through to my heart.  I told her that we'll get through this together.

After dropping her off, Wife and I spoke privately, and I told her the same thing.  I told her that anything she needed, I was there.  She smiled and said "I know."  But she doesn't want a fuss.  She doesn't want to be patronized.  And as I wrote above, that's her.

We hugged.  I held the hug and told her that I loved her.  She told me she loved me.  I got in the car and drove back to State College.  I was good- I didn't start crying until I reached the turnpike.  But it was a long trip back, as I had to pull over several times as I couldn't see through the tears.

I took this one of the times I pulled over.  Life goes on I guess.

Now I'm here.  The sun is shining, and I'm writing instead of doing my mountain of work.  132 miles awáy live my Daughter and my Wife, who has cancer.  I'm helpless to do anything.

I wrote long ago that I couldn't imagine living without Lisa Empanada in my life, and that was true.  But this is different.  This is Wife, with whom we have a daughter.  We had a family.  Despite our years of separation, I cannot comprehend of a world without her in it somewhere.  I always expected that I'd die first, long before her, and that Daughter would have her to rely upon for decades upon decades to come.  I know Wife will be fine.  I know the percentages, etc.  But I'm still crushed by this.  It just isn't fair.  Nothing in my life is.

Why does everyone I love gets sick or dies as I keep living?  They deserve life more than me, yet here I am.

"Be strong for your daughter."  "Be strong for Wife; she'll need you now."  But she doesn't.  All these miles away, I'm useless, helpless, and she doesn't need nor want me around.

I'd normally say "cue all those people saying 'stop being so negative' and 'pull yourself together.'"  But no one reads my shit anymore.  And I need time to process this.  And I have lots of homework to do.

It's a sunny day outside.


  1. Sorry to hear you are both going through this. I would say that at least 25-30% of my friends have gone through breast cancer. It is an unwelcome interloper, but eminently survivable. I'm sure this will be true for your wife as well.

  2. We do read and we take an interest. We may never meet, but you are important and valuable. You may not feel that right now, but you are. To your family, to your friends.

    I'm sorry that you're going through this. Life can be awful at times. If you want to talk, I'm hear to listen, not to judge.

  3. Sending love and healing thoughts to you and your family, Sophie.

    Hugs & love,

  4. Dear Sophie:

    I wish magic worked because I’d have cast a healing spell over you and your family long ago. For someone who often says her burden is too much to bear, you have shown a (reluctant) resilience that is impressive, indeed. I lost my first wife to cancer so I know the uncertainty that surrounds any cancer diagnosis.

    As you know, and many have affirmed, your wife’s cancer, especially caught early, is highly survivable. I hope that knowledge eventually eases your very real pain and fear. The desire to do something — anything — is normal. We’re I you, I’d most likely try to find a way to be there the day of her initial procedure. “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” — your wife tried too hard to convince you that she did not need/want to cause any bother for you. If the shoe were on the other the other foot?

    Holding you close and hoping for the best.

    1. If the shoe were on the other foot? I already have an answer, and have for a while.
      If I get breast cancer, I'm letting it go untreated. I waited far too long to get my breasts - no one is cutting them off.

  5. Hi Sophie,

    I sent a reply but something weird happened. It said "message sent pending approval" or something like that and than said that something went wrong. Oh well....basically, my comment was similar to Cass's. It was nice to read about the hug. Hug's do a lot!

    Calie xx

    1. I have pre-approval of comments to prevent trolls and spam. If it isn't either, then I post it

    2. Oh I get that. My own blog, along with T-Central are set up the same way. This one was different. Some sort of Google error.

  6. Sophie, I'm sorry to hear about your wife. You are all in my prayers. It is good that they caught it early and though the time ahead will be challenging, there is a great chance of survival. Be strong, Amy P.

  7. Oh wow - that's a tough one. I've had a lot of medical problems the last few years and have gotten kind of non-committal about my own . . . longevity. Flipping that coin and considering what it would be like if something happened to my wife though - that's a whole different story. I just can't imagine. It sounds so inadequate, but I truly wish you all the best of luck and good health my friend.