When a really crappy thing like cancer happens, there is BOUND to be a certain amount of anger, especially for the patient.

One thing I noticed in this past year was that when someone is ill and the ‘bad’ topics have to be discussed, there’s usually a strong emotional reaction. After an initial anger or frustration fades, a stream of common sense can flood in to fill the void. Maybe this is the famous ‘clearing the air’ that folks talk about.

Jan wants to be home eventually, with ALL of her animals. Home is not safe for her right now, there has to be a LOT of cleaning out, a lot of fixing up, the animals need a better life right now, and it’s not 100% certain that her home will ever be the best place for her again. This makes her so angry, though – it would piss me off, too – and that scares her friends, who don’t want to upset her.

It’s a unique situation because I don’t live here – I see Jan once or twice a year – I’m not present in her daily life the way Joyce or her friends are. But because we have that cousin-blood bond, I’m in a different (better?) place to bring up issues that need to be discussed.

Jan’s been a nurse for 30 years and is no fool. It’s clear that Jan feels in limbo, and because she’s a strong person, everyone takes their cue from her and all those around her feel in limbo, too. How low can we go?

I’m happy – willing, at least – to be the mechanism to bring up painful subjects and lance the boil so that Jan can move toward more useful feelings. I love her enough to make her PO’d at me.

But timing is everything. A funny thing happened when I brought up the taboo subjects; Jan was ready to discuss them. Or at least listen.

I get the feeling they are conversations that Jan’s been waiting to have – and it had to be in person. It may be that no one has felt comfortable taking responsibility to have the necessary chats, there are so many boundaries that are difficult for friends and in-laws to cross.

And I’m a planner so I cope by trying to figure different scenarios that will allow Jan as much autonomy as possible while also relieving some of the problems that are growing. Taking care of bills, mortgage, setting up pay schedules, all of that being dealt with was a weight off of her mind, I could tell.

And, as I said to one of Jan’s friends yesterday, if I’m annoying or the my conversations lead to bad feelings, I’ll be out of here tomorrow to give the dust a chance to settle.

So now we’re trying to figure out what might be physical goals that will give Jan’s recovery some shape; A back brace so she can sit up, perhaps physical therapy which might lead to time in rehab, or, alternatively, maybe a move to a nursing facility.

As long as the steps we take now ARE realistic, we’re moving in the right direction. They may come to nothing, but at least we’re not closing the door on hope.

I don’t want her to give up on her own personal goal of eventually moving back home – even if it seems unrealistic right now – so I’m also looking into waste haulage places so that we can start cleaning out her home, making it more livable for someone with cancer.

Jan’s being weighted down, mentally and physically, by the sheer amount of – stuff – that inhabits her home. I’m planning on coming back down in October to spend a week or so just throwing stuff away, sorting stuff, creating some peace.

The question is, where will Jan be in October?

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