so i prayed.. and cried.. and resolved to "keep the faith" and know somewhere in the depths of myself.. that we will be okay in the end.. that something will happen.. something will come up.. some employer somewhere will realize how amazing i am at my job and hire me.. somewhere there is a classroom of really lucky kids that will have me! ok.. so i don't know this.. and today i am not this confident.. but.. fake it till you make it right? i read in this book i have been reading that if you just pretend to have faith..then God will take care of the rest.. He will take your doubts, fear and anger... in the same book i read that when we are at our lowest and struggling with our own pain, focusing on someone else would help... so i was blessed with a wonderful distraction/ message a few weeks ago (ok like months ago)..and it deserves attention...as do you all dealing with loss.. for this woman in particular and her family.. this loss happens to be a diagnosis..
there is a loss/grief that comes with diagnosis.. you see in our lives we tend to looks ahead.. we have visions of perfect futures...and a cancer diagnosis throws that whole thing off the track.. so not only do we deal with the reality of mortality but we also begin to mourn that life we thought we'd have.. even when a person survives cancer..the future is not the same.. sometimes is it even more amazing.. but not the same.. and we certainly can not see that even more amazing future when struggling with mortality...
so this particular message sent to my facebook inbox started with "i am not a creepy stalker" and who can resist reading a message that starts like that? anyway turns out that her husband was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney cancer earlier this year and she looked to the web for information and blogs that would help in some way.. she asked for any words of wisdom/comfort and spoke of her kids (adult children) who seem to all be dealing with this in their own way..and struggling in different ways..
this got me thinking of my own family.. truth be told we were not all on the same page in dealing with papa's diagnosis and deterioration...i struggled to be the strong one.. the logical one.. the one who needed to see scans and find any and all information i could.. my brother refused to hear anything unless it was positive.. i won't ever call it denial.. it was what he needed.. to know that there were possibilities and hope.. my mom controlled what she could.. she forbade the hospice workers to talk about death in any way.. and they sure did hear from her when she was defied..she tried to control his diet and anything else that she could.. because everything else was out of her hands... others in our extended family were angry.. other's avoided.. other's urged him to fight until his very last breath..and my dad.. well he took it all in stride and in faith.. i am sure.. i am positive he was scared, angry, and just as bewildered as we all were.. but he truly held us together with something as simple as a smile..
so i compiled some things that i want this woman and her family to know..
1. first and foremost find God..accept the strength that He has instilled in all of us.. it's there you know.. we just aren't always aware of it until we need it.. when you find the strength to get out of bed and do it all over again.. when you find the clarity to listen to the doctors.. that's God..
2. forget everything you think you know.. no amount of books.. no amount of advice.. nothing. can prepare you..
3. respect each other's differences.. understand that we all do what we need to do..it may not be what you feel is the "right" or "best" way.. but you will all get through it.in your own way.. no matter the outcome..
4. be positive.. understand that this is actually a gift of sorts.. it's one we would all like to return.. i know.. but it's a gift none the less.. all of us will face the end at some point.. but we don't always know when that will be.. God is sending you a message.. listen, He says... i may not take him today or tomorrow.. or for another 40 or 50 years.. but some day i will.. and this is your wake up call.. head that warning.. and cherish every moment you have with each other.. even if you have another 50 years together!
5. reach out.. find someone, anyone you trust to listen to you.. there are so many things you may not want to say out loud.. write it down.. get it out... and know that friends, real friends, can take whatever you give them..this is a stressful time for you all and holding it in can and will lead to physiological issues.. i lost my voice.. literally.. from holding it all in.. i could barely squeek and croak for a week!
6. never accept.. "i know how you feel" because no one does.. not your siblings.. not your mom.. no one knows how YOU feel... you each have individual relationships with your dad/husband.. don't feel alone in this.. relish in it.. own it.. but find those who simply listen.. not commiserate
8. did i say sleep? get your rest.. you need each other at your bests.. so pop a benadryl or see your dr for something if you need to.. just get your sleep!
9. one day at a time.. that was my dad's favorite song to sing in church.. and it's the most we can do.. take it one day at a time..
10. and finally some thing for the man at the center of this all: in the face of surgery.. you swallowed hard and did it.. in the face of a very difficult treatment.. you balled your fists and resolved to do it.. continue to fight.. God will meet you in the middle.. you are still Dad.. so continue being Dad.. you are still a partner.. so continue giving the same support that she gives to you.. and do what you need to do for you..you are in charge.. you hold the cards...not even a monster as terrible as cancer can take that from you!