Today was the first time in a long, long time that I’ve called Bruce an asshole—and the first time since his cancer diagnosis.
How can you call some one with cancer an asshole?
After all, cancer patients don’t feel good--they’re dealing with a deadly disease, there are all sorts of worries, frustrations, and side effects and changes to their bodies, quality of life issues... and all the other little quirky symptoms that I only find out about about when Bruce tells his nurse.
I’m pretty patient and understanding by nature, and all the more so now when he vents the inevitable “cancer anger” a little (or a lot).
Today he got impatient and snippy, frustrated that we couldn’t merge our iCalendars—he hates when technology goes awry. Who doesn't? For him, it's one more thing out of his control.
He started to tell me what I’d done incorrectly in the attempt to merge, and kept cutting me off when I tried to show him what I did...which, by the way, was correct!
“You’re being an asshole,” I hissed. Not to his face, but I’m sure he heard me. I meant him to hear.
He didn’t react. He knew he’d overreacted. Later he apologized.
But still, it’s such a balancing act. In “normal times” a little healthy anger has always been part of our relationship. Isn’t that the way with many? It’s a spark that’s over as soon as it flares.
But cancer moves in, and when the shock and horror of the diagnosis wears off and you get back to daily living--enough to express anger, no matter how petty--it’s kind of feels weird.
Really, how can you call someone with cancer an asshole?
Because sometimes he just IS.
And sometimes I am, too.
And so goes the battle--with “cancer anger” tossed into the mix.
Anybody can become angry--that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way--that is not within everybody's power and is not easy. ~Aristotle.