The Actual Dance is a play that presents the events of the year 2000 from the point of view of the spouse of the woman going through breast cancer. From diagnosis to her life as a survivor, Susan Simon, my wife has endured. An unlikely survivor. The Actual Dance is the story of that experience from my perch. The husband. This the 4th year of my October daily blogs, my focus is a bit more on myself
Day 20: Going to the Ballroom: “I need to talk to someone! I wonder if the Rabbi is at the Temple? I decide to just stop-by, hoping that she is there. I really, really need to talk to someone.”
Yesterday I talked about escaping in The Ballroom – this other dimension in time and space – when I couldn’t face the reality of what seemed to be next in this journey. And yes, I would go in and out of the The Ballroom often. It is where I would mentally escape to when I found the reality of now intolerable.
I also realized that I needed to talk. I was desperate. It was an evening shortly after we learned of the really bad news of the post-mastectomy lump on Susan’s chest, and I really, really needed to talk. So driving home from a late dinner event in town, I decided to stop by our synagogue to see if our Rabbi was still in the office, even at 9 pm. I hopped she would be since it was “committee night.”
While it turned out that our Rabbi was there, she needed to get home so it was an “on the fly” discussion. She stood up packing her purse, while I sat down and tried to start the conversation. She offered empathy. I needed guidance. “How, how was I going to Dance the last, The Actual Dance with Susan?”
In retrospect there are some lessons learned for me, and I believe now all these years (about 20) later also by the Rabbi. She continues to be my Rabbi and she has seen the show many times.
My telling this part of the story is in part to show those who are on this same journey that not everything goes “well” or “as expected.” It is possible for us going through the trauma that we might expect more than we can get at any one moment. And yet – meeting with a minister or a Rabbi or a counselor is and can be helpful.
The success story comes later.
Stat of the Day: Where do you live? Breast Cancer rates vary by State and the highest incidence is in New Hampshire according to the CDC’s most recent map (2015)
Task of the Day: If your life is being touched by your love-partners cancer then find a cancer support organization near you. Most hospitals have affiliated groups. If your wife or mate has a physician practice they will usually have some suggestions. It isn’t always as easy as you might think. Most organizations are designed for “caregivers” and they mean also the love-partner.
Resource of the Day: I love this web site for men. It isn’t exactly about breast cancer, though there are resources about men and the loss of a loved one. Check out The Good Men Project
The Actual Dance: Performances Donate