The Summer of No

Large sparkly insect
Large sparkly insect

One morning last week EJ went for a walk with Danny and me. He doesn’t walk with me often, but I always enjoy it when he does. Anyway, at one point EJ said to me, “There is a bug on you.” I didn’t panic because he said that as he was calmly removing the insect. He showed me the insect after he removed it. If I had seen it on me, I would have done the panicky “Get It OFF!!!!” dance because it was HUGE–almost 2 inches long. However, since it was not on me when I saw it, I could be interested in it. EJ held it while I looked at it. I do not know what kind of insect it was. It was rather sparkly and almost pretty. EJ took pictures of it on him with his phone. Does anyone know what it is?

EJ had to work yesterday but we had a quiet morning until he had to leave. Today he has a day off; he is not even on call. We had a storm yesterday and are expecting more storms today and tomorrow. Some could get severe.

Tomorrow morning we will take my laptop to the shop. I’m hoping that it will be a minor problem rather than a major one. I have a year and a half of photos on my computer that I haven’t not backed up and I’m afraid I will lose them if the computer is terminally ill. Also, I will be lost without my computer if it dies. EJ is nicely sharing his laptop with me, but it’s not the same as having my own.

I do not know how many people understand that even though it might seem as if the cancer battle is finished and our lives are “normalizing,” we really are merely in a different part of the battle. I think I did not really understand before JJ got cancer. It’s easy to think that when the cancer treatments are finished and the oncology checks reveal that all tests are good, that every is back to normal. But often I am reminded that life is not normal. Cancer is such a life-changing thing that I think life never goes back to what it was before. A new normal is eventually forged but that takes time.

JJ told me Friday night that the visit to the Cancer Center that morning had been very difficult for him. It was  stressful for him to see the patients in the waiting room filling out the blue form (on which they rate how they are feeling before each chemo treatment), and it was difficult for him to walk by the Infusion Rooms and see bald cancer patients dozing in the chairs as they received the Chemo drugs. I can imagine that it was sort of like revisiting a nightmare, or being sucked into The Twilight Zone. JJ has also been suffering from terrible nightmares, which is probably another reason why his sleep patterns are all messed up. In addition, he is struggling with a feeling that he “should” be normal by now. and that he’s just a nonproductive, nonfunctional member of society. He wants to contribute, he wants to get back to “living” but he knows he is not ready for it. He says he almost feels as if he has Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.

I told JJ that his Dad and I understand that he needs time to process all this, and he doesn’t need to feel like he needs to rush. I told him that he won’t always feel like he does right now, and that there will come a time when he will KNOW that he is ready to take on life again. And then he will do it.

Summer of NO

EJ told me that a friend at work once was very wore out so he decided to have a “Summer of No”–a summer in which he told people “No, I will not go to that event or do that activity, but I will totally unplug and rest.” That is the type of summer I am trying to create for JJ and for me and for EJ because it is the type of summer I think we very much need. JJ needs to have time to regain his physical and emotional strength, and he needs to have time to process all that happened. Of course, EJ still has to work, and he is working many weekends, so when he has a day off, he needs to rest, not only from work but from the difficult winter. After a winter of rushing to appointments, I find it exhausting to even think about running to events and activities, no matter how pleasant they might be. The best therapy for me is puttering around in my garden and watching the birds and taking Danny for his walks and spending time with my guys.

So we are taking it slow.
During our Summer of No.



A friend suggested that the insect pictured above is a click beetle. I googled it and think she is correct. Mystery solved!

4 Comments on “The Summer of No

  1. What a wise decision Teri and I think a summer of no will really help to get back on track. You all need time to let everything that happened calmly sink in and take as much time as you all need. And I do understand the feelings of JJ. And I think that being unplugged is the best way to go. And I tell you what I’m going to follow your example and just take a summer of no . I need also time to reschedule my life…….Love you all ❤


  2. No is a good word TJ, it allows our Yes to be focused on the need of the day without being pulled every which way because of prior YES’S that we really do not want to do.
    Say hi to the men and love to all.


    • It is not always easy to say no, but I recognize that it’s essential at this stage. I will give my guys your love, Linda and Bob.


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