2016 started with my brother Gary's cancer getting worse and finally taking his life. I hate the fact that Gary is gone and that he is the second brother of mine to die. Gary had a wonderful family with grandchildren (and one on the way) that he should have been allowed to watch grow up. He should have been able to grow old with his wife and have the chance to become the proud grandfather watching with a tear in his eye as his first grandchild walks down the isle. But instead, he is physically gone, cancer has taken him and only his spirit can watch us from where ever he is. And even though I got the chance to say good bye to him, I hurt knowing I did not get the chance to tell him so many things. I never could tell him that I was very angry that cancer would take him away from those of us who cared. Gary's death started the leak in my glass and started me noticing tarnish on my silver lining.
The next month my dear sister-in-law, Jim's only sibling, Barb, died from cancer. Barb and Jim had the kind of sibling relationship that would make most of us jealous. When they would talk on the phone or get together, they could literally talk for hours. And Barb had a laugh that would make everyone around her smile. We had recently traveled with Barb and her husband Tom and we enjoyed every minute together. Barb even sent me a message when Gary died, when she was battling her own cancer, offering her sympathy, her support and giving me strength. I feel that Barb was also taken away much too soon. We had so many more trips to take, so many more places to see. We needed to laugh together again. I know that she will be with us as Jim and I travel to new places, that she will laugh with us again and will keep giving us her strength. But still, the leaks in my glass grow bigger and the shine turns to a dull grey on my silver lining.
Then there is the ongoing fight with my health. My pain is now almost constant. And my fear grows. Am I going to be the next one to die? My medical team has been less than helpful. The HMO I am forced to go to refuses to allow me to be certified for medical cannabis. And lately, contacting them about any issue is nearly impossible. Then this past week, while renewing some of my prescriptions, I was told that before one of them could be refilled I had to see the pain doctor. The soonest that doctor had an appointment opening was two months away. When I had to fight just to get my medications, I finally lost it. Do they really think I will abuse my medications? Does my medical team know me at all? And because of my insurance, I can't change clinics. I am stuck going to a clinic that doesn't care about me and doctors who don't seem to care either. There are times these days when I feel as if Jim, our cat Rudi, my sister Joy and a very small handful of friends are the only ones who do care. Sometimes that leaves me thinking, did I do the right thing when I fought to live? If I was gone tomorrow, how many people would be sad? My glass is really becoming empty, the leaks are growing and the silver has now lost all of it's shine.
I know that I do make a difference in the lives of some of the students that Annie and I talk to. I also know that Jim really loves me and Rudi can be so very caring. I know that I have a few family members and some really good friends who would miss me, who really do care. The glass still has water in it and the lining can be polished. But then there are times lately when I feel like the world is against me, like I am forced to fight in a war that I never expected. And I am getting tired of fighting. I am getting tired of trying to keep my glass half full, of pouring water in faster than it leaks out. And now I have given up on polishing my silver lining, I am letting it go dull.
So, what is next? Can I find help? Do I see a therapist? Do I add to my medications as a tool to fight my depression? Do I continue to fight for my health and my health care and make the clinic and doctors care? Or do I patch the holes in my glass by myself and get out my own silver polish. Is this really depression? And is this depression the result of the HIV, the HIV medications, living this fight, this war or is it something else all together? And will 2016 ever get better or will I have to keep fighting in a war I didn't plan on? Can my glass again be half full instead of quickly becoming empty? Can I once again see the shine from my silver lining?