Disclaimer: I never write anything on my blog in hopes of
getting advice or having a problem fixed by my readers. I want to provide
perspective into the life and mind of someone dealing with a terminal illness.
Some things have no solution, but neither do they require pity. In exchange for
my honesty, I’ll ask only for your empathy in these moments.
I’ve been in the depths lately. I’m wrestling with loneliness, fear of a changing illness, sadness of friends experiencing loss, and the uncertainty of an imperfect faith. I’ve had moments of abject grief. As I sat at the funeral of the husband of a dear friend, watching a family say their final goodbye, my heart broke in anticipation of the day that my kids and parents will do the same. I never want to leave them, and impending scan results may tell me that it will happen sooner than I’ve expected. Can I pray this disease away? Or the emotional pain of loved ones? Then again, what’s the value of a life lived without people who will miss you when you’re gone?
Never have I felt quite so broken; never since my terminal prognosis have I sobbed as I did in my car after that funeral. How do I pray when there are no words? What do I do when nothing can be done? Who shall I turn to when all I want to do is protect my people? Where is the joy I’ve sworn to embrace?
There are no answers.
Except that the chaplain at the hospital reminded me that my life is a prayer. My silence. My hope, as limited as it is.
And keeping my appointments and acting on my plans is what I will do. Although I had to postpone because I couldn’t get out of bed on Monday morning, Coach Erin and I still had our session. We took a walk, cried a little, sat in the quiet of the forest, laughed at waddling goslings, and marveled at how big and how small and how hard this life is.
And I have people to turn to who don’t need my protection. My therapist. My doctors. The chaplain and Mandy. Coach Erin. It’s their job, and they’re all exceptional at what they do.
And that joy hides behind the clouds, but returns after the rain. Often, it shows up when my kids do. We’ll find it in Pittsburgh later this week, and we find it in creemees (the more e’s, the better) at the end of a summer day. Last week, it came back when a dear friend asked me to go kayaking – one of those things I love to do but never have enough initiative to do by myself. How blessed I am to have friends who push me. Don’t be afraid to push your friends who might be facing down a monster like mine. Sometimes, you know better than we do where our joy is.
That’s all I’ve got tonight. I don’t have a way to wrap this up, friends, because it isn’t over…