Liza updated our will last week.
One of the biggest differences between Liza and myself is how we approach time. She’s far more present oriented than I am. If there’s something that can be done now, why not do it now? Where as I tend to ask, why not do it when it’s more convenient?
Some of you can probably imagine how frustrating it would be to be married to me. But some of you are exactly like me. I don’t want to do something if all it’s going to do is frustrate me. I’m all for a challenge. I’m all for doing something not because it’s easy but because it has to be done. But, to me, there’s a difference between doing something that’s hard or difficult and doing something that’s aggravating.
I showed Liza one of those pamphlets the night I asked her if it was okay for me to quit my job and live off of her salary. She said “Ooookay.”
A year later, I started a new career in technology at the very same school where I’d previously taught theater. Almost eight years after that I started working at another school, my fourth, as the director of technology.
And last week Liza updated our will.
I can’t say that Liza was initially 100% thrilled with my desire to switch careers two years and one child into our marriage but, still, she listened to me babble on about signs and timing and said “Oooookay”. She said okay because it was clearly what I needed to do.
When Liza first said she wanted to get her breasts removed I was not supportive.
I think I said the “right” things. I’m with you. It’s your body, your health. I love you. And though I actually meant them, another part of me, a very selfish part, was screaming WHY?
That selfish part completely understood the science, the medicine, the research. It understood BRCA and the 85% chance of breast cancer and how it could be reduced to 1% in a single day.
And, still, that selfish part thought Liza was overreacting.
That selfish part wanted her to stay the same. Intact. From head to toe.
So when Liza decided to wait a few months and process things… I was silently happy. Those months could’ve been the beginning of cancer but I was happy. When we found out Liza was pregnant with Evan, I rejoiced in the news that we were going to have a third child and, quietly, celebrated a further mastectomy delay. When Liza reaffirmed her commitment to breast feeding for a year that selfish part inside of me cheered. Cheered and hoped.
Hoped that with enough delay, she might change her mind.
Last week Liza called me at work because she was updating our will and needed some information. It came out of the blue. Knowing how present oriented Liza is, the message was clear. I might die next week and I want to make sure that you and our kids are okay.
I held it together on the phone. Answered the questions that needed answering. Found a private spot after we’d hung up and broke down. Now, go ahead and tell me it’s natural to not want your wife to go through a traumatic surgery. Tell me it’s perfectly normal to wish she didn’t have to go through with this. To want your wife to say the same.
It doesn’t change the fact that while I was hoping she’d change her mind, Liza was desperately hoping she wouldn’t get cancer.
I’m writing this because my wife is not only the bravest woman I know, but also because she’s the most honest. She’s shared the truth about what it’s like to make a decision like this. Shared it with family, friends and complete strangers– who all might have to make a similar choice one day. I want to be honest too. For the folks who might wind up riding shotgun with their own partner one day.
To those folks… you may find yourself in a conversation with the selfish part of you. When that happens… Punch it in the face. Stomp on its head. Because whatever it’s saying, it’s wrong.
Liza’s made the brave choice and physical sacrifice to live. She’s made the hard choice. The difficult choice. The AGGRAVATING choice. For me, for Joli, for Jada, for Evan.
And all I’ll ever be able to do to thank her is to be honest, to be close and to be better.
I love you, Liza Talusan. I always will. Always.