Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Kingsley, Happiness, and Heartaches

I wrote this after visiting my friend Kingsley at the hospital. He’s currently fighting a cancer so rare; they don’t even have a name for it.

I don’t know how I would feel coming back to this place. Last time I was here, I saw my 5 year old cousin fought a war against brain cancer. Last time I was here, I saw him took his final breath as he proudly lay down his arms in this war. I didn’t know if it was the best for me or for Kingsley that I dropped by unannounced. I heard the news and had no other intentions but to pay him a visit and wish him well.

As I pulled into the parking lot of the hospital, memories flashed in my mind. I tried my best to block both the horrible and fund memories out of my head but it was useless. I saw myself and Cousin Sean going in this hospital and only I came out. I saw the tears in my family’s eyes as Sean fought his last few breaths here on Earth. It was that part of my life I just did not want to re-live.

I said a quick prayer before heading into the hospital. I was immediately greeted by a Drum Major. Then, realizing that was close to Halloween, I smiled at the Drum Major (one of the hospital staff that was sitting at the welcome desk) and went to grab a visitor’s badge. I truly didn’t know what to expect coming back here. Before heading to Kingsley’s room, I stopped by the bathroom and splashed my face with some cold water.

Everything felt surreal. I had no plans on coming back here any time soon and yet; here I am, visiting a dear friend.

I made my way up to the 7th floor and made my way to his room. I had no plans coming back here any time soon and here I am, rolling down the same hallway I did just a short year ago. Upon entering the room, I heard a weak, yet familiar voice.

“Hey dude, you made it.” Kingsley said to me.

I forced a smile and replied, “Hey.”

I didn’t know what to expect or how I’d feel. Last time I was here, my cousin was fighting a war against cancer. Last time I saw someone with cancer was Mom, her lifeless body sleeping peacefully in her old room. I couldn’t imagine Kingsley as sick as he was. In my mind, he was still the person filled with excitement and always out looking for something to do. Instead, what I saw, was a man swelled up from the chemotherapy and weak as a twig. There was an awkwardness between us and I think there was a big elephant in the room that neither of us wanted to talk about. Even though it was staring right into our eyes.

Kingsley and I caught each other up with both of our busy lives. I told him about what’s been going on and he did the same. As we talked, there was less awkwardness in between us, though we both did not wan to bring up just how cancer changed so many things in both of our lives.

Then Kingsley spoke, “Well…ya you know…” and with as much energy as he can, talked his hearts out. I have never known Kingsley for someone who will talk about his feelings or what he’s going through, but there he was, talking about the diagnosis, breaking the news to his parents and girlfriend, the treatment, and just how sick he feels on a day to day basis. I didn’t say anything but sat there and listened. Kingsley’s voice was sore as it can be and seem to give all his energy telling me just what’s going on.

I didn’t say much, just listened. It’s amazing what you can see and hear when you stop and listen.

Then Kingsley caught me off guard.

“Let’s play some Call of Duty, dude. Some friends lend me a PS3.”

We spend next couple hours playing Call of Duty. There weren’t many words as we geared up and the good old PS3. Despise the chemo and how weak he was, Kingsley pretty much kicked my ass. And like the Kingsley I know, threw some friendly competition words around.

I’m sitting here now, right by Kingsley’s bed as he just passed out cold from all the meds they’ve been given him. I still don’t how I should feel or the things I must do to keep Kingsley’s spirit in check. I’m just here as a friend and it is in the deepest part of my heart that I hope Kingsley can pull through this one. Kingsley’s a good friend and truly, I hope the best for him.

Kingsley’s up now…kind of surprised that I’m still here and asked if I’d like to have bucket duty.
Here we go.

I’ve visited Kingsley several times since the initial visit. He seems weak as ever and that somehow scares me more than usual. Seeing him struggling to pull up his own covers reminds me of how bad Mom got when she was sick. It reminded me a lot of things…and I am confronting them before I actually want to. But I’m here for a good friend; I’m here when no one else would even care. Just fighting through this together I guess.

Yesterday, I watched as they put a feeding tube in him. As the tube passed through the gastro reflex, the unspeakable came rushing out of his mouth, again, reminded me of Mom. Truly hope Kingsley will get the nutrition he needs ASAP. I plan to visit as often as I can. I know what support can do when someone is truly sick. There are just no words I can use to describe what's going on, simply because there is just too much going on.

On another note, Sarah’s first birthday is in two days. Both of my grandparents are coming to celebrate this milestone. It’s rather scary how fast time passed by and Sarah’s already one. I got her several gifts I know she’d like but at the same time, I wish I can give her one thing that I just can’t.

I’m dreading the day she opens her mouth and stare at me with those wondering eyes and ask, “Matty…where’s Mama? How come she’s not here? Does she not love me?”

I’m dreading it now, because I know that’s what she’s wondering about daily right now. She just don’t know how to put it in words.

And when she does ask, I wouldn’t know how to put it in words either.

I wrote this last night and slowly realize I haven't been happy in a long time. I laugh, sure. I smile, sure. But I haven't been happy in a long time. And as much as I'd like to fix that, I don't know how.

Relaxing on my parents' bed. Last time I was here, I was 5, snuggling with Mom while she told me jokes. We laughed and stayed in bed forever.

Now I sit here thinking of all the memories we made throughout the years.

Every time I see the sunrise, I remember sharing our ritual together. And I think of you.
Every time I hear our favorite song, I remember sharing a dance or singing a chorus together. And I think of you.
Every time I smell the items you once hold dear, I remember sharing stories and making memories. And I think of you.
Every time I touch your picture, I remember giving you a hug while you latch onto me forever. And I think of you.

My heart aches like no other tonight.
I'm just a little boy, asking for his Mama.

I miss you Mama.
Come visit soon.


Ruchi said...

Your mama is there for you Matt, looking over you...please dont feel sad.
I really admire you for your courage and wisdom beyond age, and your commitment towards your will be able to get through it I am sure. God bless you and Sarah...Here is wishing her a very happy birthday!She is a gift from your mama, just as you are. And you both will definitly make her very proud. Dont worry, with time you will be able to know how to answer her on the difficult questions...
take care
hugs and best regards,

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