Holding Pattern

“We are in a holding pattern,”
I hear myself say,
when asked how things are going.

By this I mean
that
here we sit,

knowing
that the cancer is
present,
inoperable,
and likely growing,

waiting
for the experts to
gather information,
look at the scant amount of research that exists,
study it from all the angles,
make and share a plan
with the goal of
killing the cancer
without
killing Sean.

I picture us
on a plane
on the tarmac
waiting for our turn to take off,
anxious in all the ways,
our lives and our future in the hands of the pilots,
praying that they know what they’re doing,
that they are not distracted, tired, or sloppy,
that they are fully aware of the lives on board.

As we sit in this holding pattern,
other types of holding are also in play.

We are:
Holding the weight of this diagnosis on our shoulders and our souls,
Holding the doctors and researchers accountable to do their jobs, even and especially in this most complicated case,
Holding resentment for this despicable disease and all the pain it has caused,
Holding our breath that all will go well,
Holding out hope that he will defy statistics,
Holding in tears during appointment after appointment of sad-eyed practitioners saying things like, “Wow. You’ve been through a lot.”
Holding up others, who are also in the circle,
Holding down the fort, because daily life does not relent, even in times of crisis,
Holding mugs of steaming beverages, clinging to their comfort and their caffeine as the elixir that will see us through,
Holding up our bodies as we trudge to and from the clinic, day after day, even when subzero temperatures shut the whole state down,
Holding back snarky answers to the daily question from the concierge team, “Have you been here to the clinic before?”
Holding a grudge against the scourge that is cancer and all of the friends it continues to take from us,
Holding hands at every opportunity,
Holding on to each other, as if by doing so, we can make it all disappear,
Holding on for dear life, for actual life, which is dear to us and is threatened to be taken.

Perhaps,
it’s not a holding pattern we are in,
but a
holding cell
instead.

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