rumbling about in my brain from the past few days.
Where to start?
~ I reached out to a friend on Friday, one of my friends who I consider a “spiritual mentor” and told her how depressed I’ve been and how I was having a hard time getting out of the depression, that I was Stuck and it didn’t seem like I was able to move past it. That between going back to work and grieving over my mastectomy, I was just having a really hard time and felt like I was back at Square One.
She was great, acknowledging my pain and frustration, but also gently reminding me that I wasn’t back at Square One. She then quoted this wonderful scripture from the Bible:
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
She is just so wonderful at communicating with me in such a way that I respond. She never minimizes my pain, but she also has a wonderful way of bringing a reality check in, by gently saying, “hey look, things may be really difficult for you now, but it’s not ALL gloom and doom,” and she listed off some of the blessings that I do have in my life — Frank and Nate, friends who love me, and God who loves me beyond our comprehension. She has that gift of being able to balance sympathy with realism and have me accept it graciously and not get offended.
But that’s not the end of this story. On Sunday, the pastor’s sermon was about lifting ourselves out of difficult circumstances, about knowing that God is always with us, even in our darkest moments. He used people in the Bible as examples — Paul, as one, when he was imprisoned. And then he quoted the exact same scripture, Philippians 4:8. The tears started leaking out of my eyes; I couldn’t help myself. It was towards the end of his sermon, and I just couldn’t stop the tears. After his sermon, one of the friends that I always sit next to asked me a question and I turned to her. She realized that I was crying and asked what was wrong. In my fumbling, blubbery way, I tried to tell her. Both M. and our other friend, K., who sits on the other side of me were hugging me and telling me to call them if I need help of any kind — with Nate, to get out for a bit, for Frank and I to go out, etc. We decided then and there to have lunch together, the three of us, next week after church. All I have to do now is find a babysitter and I do have people I can call. I left a message for one just a little while ago so I’ll see if she can.
~ Monday I saw my therapist and talked with her about how things are going. She reassures me that it’s normal to grieve after losing a breast, losing a body part. When I told her that I was reading books about death, she did a double-take, and I said, “let me explain. There’s a reason for this.” I told her that I wanted to understand death and that way I might be more able to accept it and not fear it.”
Her response? — that fear of death is emotional and I’m approaching my emotional response to it cognitively by reading about it. Hmmmmm. Yes, I do see her point. We talked about it for quite awhile, me discussing exactly why I’m afraid and many more things about death. The bottom line really was that none of us knows when we’re going to die, that all of us will die sometime, and that those of us who have faced death in an intimate way — like people who have a terminal illness — are simply more aware of our mortality than those who haven’t. But it’s not all bad. It can mean that we — those of us who are more aware of our mortality — can experience fundamental changes in our lives and those changes can also affect those around us. For example, for the most part, I try not to sweat the small stuff. Sometimes I do, but I can usually kick myself in the butt at a certain point (much sooner than I used to) and say that it just doesn’t matter in the long run. I’m not where I want to be with that yet, but I think I’ll get there. I certainly know that my priorities are different. I want to make days count. I want to be the best mother I can be to Nate. I’ve always wanted that, but I do want my days with him to count, to matter, I want to make memories that he’ll remember. I want to choose people over places and things. I want to reach out more. I want to give more.
It’s a different life than it was before, but it’s LIFE. It’s not death, and it’s not even dying. It’s terminal, but it could be terminal for a long time. I pray for that. The thing is, I just don’t know. Nobody does. And the thing is, I could die of something completely different than this cancer. There’s the kicker. I have no choice in the way that I die. Well, I suppose if I were suicidal, I would, but I’m not, so in my case, I have no choice in the way that I die or when I die. I’m doing all that I can to stick around for as long as I can, and really, that’s all that I can do. The rest is out of my hands.
So the lesson in this? I may as well quit worrying about it and keep on with living this life that I’ve built for myself. The life that, despite its difficulties, I’ll take any day. Because really — who knows what tomorrow will bring?
~ Today. Oh, today has been good. I saw my oncologist today and had a good appointment with her. One of the things that she said is that my cancer tumor markers are at a normal level. NORMAL! *relief* I had her repeat that three times. HAHAHAHA!! I tend to do that when she has good news 😉 .
~ Oh, and before I forget, I signed up for the 29-Day Giving Challenge. Tomorrow will be my first official day as it will be easier to count from Oct. 1. 🙂 Thanks to Firemom for inspiring me to do this; she’s also doing it. Anyone else here doing it? Let me know in the comments! I’m on there as Judy K., but I think I might change it to JustEnjoyHim/Judy K. Later. I have to run off here soon.
~ So, in a little bit, I’m off for my radiation treatment, then later today, I have my cancer support group.
~ I’ve been reminded in the past week, a bit at a time, how very blessed I am. Very, very blessed.
Cross-posted to Just Enjoy Him