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The gravity of the grief

Forfatter: Ole Robert Sunde
ESSAY on grief and cancer.


Last year, my wife died at Lovisenberg's hospice after being cancerous for four years; it was bowel cancer with spread – which in the last year hit her hard after being operated on in her head and irradiated afterwards, and this radiation caused her to lose her appetite all that time, she said, everything tasted metal; then she quickly lost weight, and the cortisone tablets she took (along with other tablets; our entire kitchen began to recall a pharmacy) ate up the fat in her muscles and she became so thin and flabby that it was to cry off, and with the bald head and the narrow body she, along with the others we met at Ullevål, became a kind of common strain of bald leptosomes.

I remember all the times we were at the Cancer Center at Ullevål waiting for a trip to her cancer doctor the week after she had CT – there we, along with many others in the waiting room, and there was not much laughter, early morning, always Wednesday , and I thought I could see who was sick and who was spouse, family or friends – and I always sat there with a bad taste in my mouth and troubled stomach, and I could see that she, who had been my boyfriend in 44 years, worked hard to keep the anxiety at ease, or was afraid that I would be scared.

Then it was our turn and as we walked in the door and sat down to wait for the doctor, I hoped all I could that this time the results had to be good and that the spread had stopped; we waited and many times I asked my wife if it was a good or bad sign that the doctor was taking so long.

When the doctor came in, I looked at her to read her body language and face, whether she was gentle or serious, or something in between, which could be read from the results she had obtained on the CT tests; It was often difficult, but not always as she was a professional at her fingertips and certainly knew that she was being examined, not only by me, but by all those for whom she was a cancer doctor.

After the doctor's consultation, and after my wife had a blood test, we went deeper into the Cancer Center, because usually the blood tests were good and she could continue with the cell poison, and as always we were out early and had to wait for another waiting room, which was a lot less anxious than the other waiting rooms; I've waited a lot for all possible waiting rooms at Ullevål, and once, while she was at CT, it was on the floor above the Cancer Center so I sat outside in the hallway and waited, a bunch of doctors and nurses came trundling on a bed, everything was quiet and I quickly understood what it was, and it was horrible, it looked like a traffic accident.

I do not forget the bloody, sleeping face, and what was visible under the bandage, and the little school mess at the foot of the bed; there was a girl and the parents, or someone I took to be it, went behind the bed and I looked down in embarrassment, not without thinking about what job is being done at a large hospital in our capital.

After meeting my wife's chemotherapy nurse, we went into a small office with several controllable chairs, blankets and pillows as well as chemotherapy stands, and several patients who were already getting chemotherapy, and then my wife was connected to the various wires, connected to the surface of the left hand with needles that were inserted into the veins of the hand, before she later had a plastic collar in her chest, a so-called venous port, shortened to VAP, which facilitated the possibility of intravenous cell poisoning; I asked her many times how she noticed that the cell poison entered the blood vessels and what she could feel, but always it was that she did not feel the poison until the week after, and then she was very weak and spent the whole week to recover, and then it was time for another round.

One of her Girlfriends who also went on chemotherapy, but another type since her girlfriend had breast cancer, also felt the poison after a week and she said it was like being constantly in the hangover on bad home burns.

So I wondered what she noticed when the poison ran into her body; it was different from one cure to another, but after the first round, she was freezing on one hand, where the poison had gone in, and her voice was slightly distorted, especially in winter; the other cures could give her many days of sluggish stomach, then loose stomach; all this is troubled when one has bowel, and as a rule she was completely knocked out after a week, drained of energy and completely without appetite, and constant nausea.

After the third and last cure she became unwell, even after taking nausea tablets, and not only nausea, she got beard, was attacked by acne and the whole skin became dry, almost like a bout of mild psoriasis, and she vomited right away she had eaten something, and then she would not eat, although I had to try and make some dishes that she would love, she did not, so then there was bread and all the world's health drinks, full of protein, but with a nasty bottom taste of something slick and abysmal, no matter how much orange flavor was added, she couldn't bring it down; I understood that after drinking it myself.

But she was so stoic that she never complained, and it wasn't to be stoic, she var stoic while complaining about everything.

I thought, or thought, that she would get better, even when the chemotherapy regimen was over, the one that hadn't worked, it's my bright mind that I've inherited from my father, and it dragged him through the war, but this war lost I. 

In a fucking episode she had problems with multiple tumors in the liver, so much that she became yellow in the eye and got heartburn, and then she became yellow in the entire face, and managed to barely stay on her feet, and the cancer doctor immediately realized what it was, and she was hospitalized immediately and they put in a reliever, a stent, it is called, through the throat, after receiving a strong sleeping tablet, down the esophagus and into the liver, and it helped, almost overnight, as I remember so that the yellow color disappeared, and she regained the little she had of surplus.

Next, she started to lose weight drastically, and it was a lot, and as I said, all the muscle fat disappeared because of the cortisone tablets, but she did not become lean in the face, and with her hair tones, a little beard and fierce Russian eyebrows, as well as hairy eyelids, she shone and had a beautiful head; what is called in Latin dolicocephalus, that is, long skull, and always a lot of red lipstick on his wonderful mouth; she had the most beautiful mouth I knew about, and she was always full of joy of life, even before it was put in parentheses, but there it was for a while.

And in the thoughtfulness cruel light, there is a lot I would have liked to have done, like what, my God, for a question, yes, that I never, not for a second, thought she was going to die, that is, before she went into a coma; I thought, or thought, that she would get better, even when the chemotherapy regimen was over, the one that hadn't worked, it's my bright mind that I've inherited from my father, and it dragged him through the war, but this war lost I.

If I had realized that she was going to die before she went into a coma last summer, what would it have done or not, nothing, as if I should have had a deep conversation with her before she was gone well, come on, but what is it then, the last look on her, which I had just when she died at the hospice at Lovisenberg, but then she did not see me, it is, a last look before death closed her gaze for good , that's not it, what is it then, I have to think about.

I think I know what it is, after thinking that she would survive and that she would get her old life back and her old body back, then everything would go back to the life we ​​had lived before she was severely affected by cancer, so the thoughtfulness should have told me something else and then given me a hint of something else, something totally different as a life without her, is that it?

Like me now, half a year after she died, thinking, just because I am late in thinking, it can be so simple, just the words the German mystic and philosopher Walter Benjamin wrote in his essay on Proust, also strike me: "The wrinkles and The folds on the face record the great suffering, the burdens, the confessions that visit us – but we, the army, were not at home. ”

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