I Am Her Dragon

Tom

I Am Her Dragon

Tom
Lisa and I were watching a TV show the other day wherein a young woman has three pet baby dragons.

“I want a dragon,” Lisa said, kind of sadly. I thought about that, and told her, “I am your dragon.”

Well, I was born in the Chinese Year of the Dragon, so it’s true. I said, “I am fierce, and always with you, and will definitely chomp anyone who messes with you.” It made us both feel good, and she snuggled up to me and held me, and I thought about being her dragon. Yes, I am strong and wild and fierce and loyal. Yes, I will always be by her side, and as we have lived and grown through this caregiving marathon, I have developed a dangerous look in my eye when I sense that she is not being treated properly. Sometimes that has turned into roars and blasts of fire, if that’s what it took to make something happen. I almost feel sorry for the folks unfortunate enough to have seen that side of me. Almost.

Yet, like the baby dragons, I need Lisa’s acceptance and care as much as she needs mine. I don’t need her to cook, clean, shop, drive, pay bills, fetch me my meals, or open my water bottles. That’s what I do. I just need her to tell me she loves me, hold me once in a while, and talk and laugh with me when she can. I only need what she can give, no more. If or when there comes a time when she can no longer hold me or laugh with me, then I won’t  need that anymore.

Man, have I ever learned the difference between wanting and needing. Dragons don’t need a lot, but we do need a little. She knows this. And she watches out for me, when I am being reckless or feeling low. She can’t do that all the time, but she does it enough.

We used to share all our experiences, and now we live in different worlds, both of us lonely for each other, although we share the same den. Cancer has separated us, but we are still together, always on the same side, closer than ever in some ways, and further apart than we ever imagined. It seems like she’s not there most of the time, but the time we share is worth more than anything to me. I will continue to keep a close eye and ear on everything, always ready to jump in when needed.

I have the wings, the armor, the strength, the fire, and am hers to command. I serve her, but am not a servant. I am her protector, defender, and provider. She is my charge, my duty, and always always, my friend.

Like almost every caregiving story, this one has a crappy ending. Lisa had to take an injection that night, and that was the end of the cuddles, talking, and sweetness. She had to go back to her world of endless pain, and I to my solitary watch.  But I think if I am patient, I will be able to get a little smile out of her later, when I whisper in her ear, “I am your dragon.”

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