Peace.

What peace is there? Where do you go from here, and how are you to know who you are anymore once you get there?
It just won’t quit.
It’s behind me some days, but right beside me often. Always close, too close.
It is easier… Not like you’d think though. This break changed everything. No one can pick it up this time and put the pieces back together; they won’t fit the way they did before. Those shards are all over the floor, and they cut just the same as they did eight months ago.
And the tears don’t come anymore to cleanse the soul, no, they only come now to remind you of what’s lingering on the surface. They race quickly down your face, burn the skin they touch and die in a puddle.

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Her hands.

They taught me how to blow kisses and wave hello,
And often tickled my back by a late night moons glow.
They weaved effortlessly through my curly tangles, and formed perfect braids.
They caught my every tear as they fell, and pulled me in close to the safest place I know.
They are the strongest, most beautiful hands I know.
With my hand in yours you taught me how to be brave and strong, but to always know I’d never be alone.
I promise to always hold your hands when they now tremble and fall weak, and to always turn the cold handle for you so your hands won’t tingle.
When you drop them in defeat, I promise to hold them up.
But most of all, I promise you will never be alone.
I’ll hold your hands every step of the way, mom.
And though I now watch your beautiful hands change a little more every day, they will always remain the strongest hands I know.

Christmas.

Isn’t it funny how life works? One puzzle piece fitting effortlessly into the next. Sometimes fraying at the edges and bent from life’s harder lessons, but continuing to one after the other form a picture.
Kissing my now husband with no concern for those around us that night has led me to this night, married for three months, together for a year and a half. The last couple of days have felt simple and happy. Christmas shopping has taken over our free time, and building traditions for ourselves has kept me busy. In the last couple of days I’ve thought a lot about life and how funny it all is. I’ve also thought of all the people who sadly think they are simply tolling away for nothing but to end their stay here rotting 6 ft under. There’s more to this life, I know. I often pray for those of you who don’t see the puzzle pieces as clearly. I know one day you will, and though your life was spent walking away from the truth, He will still have you. There is always a plan and a purpose.
The day I met Teddy’s mom I knew right then and there that God had designed this. She reminds me so much of my mom, and though I know it will take me much longer than it has taken Teddy to call my mom, “mom”, she will one day be my only mom still sharing the same air. It’s funny to have met “my person” just a year and a half before the life of my other person would be threatened by a merciless disease. I have only spoken aloud once of how it both pains and gives me joy. It hurts sometimes when I think of how sad it is to have found the one, but to now be living with constant worry that my mom will wake up tomorrow not feeling as well as yesterday. That we were given a short reprieve from what is really to come.
I could live in joyful ignorance, but there is a reality which I must respect. I will always believe in miracles, but I know I’ve already received one. In this crazy world, we found one another.

“Be positive with me.”

At times I find myself wondering how she does it. How does she remain so positive and hopeful?

I have become more familiar with hospitals and cancer centers than I ever imagined I would, and have eaten far more hospital food than I care to admit to. I have also through this journey become quite familiar with “the cancer patient”.

At the Cancer Center at Providence hospital there was one man in particular who broke my heart daily. He would sit day after day unmoving in his bed, and stare listlessly out the window at the large cement parking garage. I had hoped every time I passed his room that he would look my way and I could smile at him, but he never did. He never had a visitor and I never saw his face. I remember becoming so upset with the architect who built that stupid, cold and dark parking garage right outside his window, and wished desperately that he would soon get out of that lonely room. I remember dreaming of him packing his things and leaving the scariest wing of that entire hospital. There was no “hope” in that room, and I know that despite my desire for him to leave, he likely would not.

As mom was answering her doctors standard questions at a recent chemo appointment she repeatedly responded with “good” to almost every question. As she answered over and over with the same positive response I began to see the doctor become uneasy. I thought at first, “Does he think she’s lying?”, but slowly began to realize that it was her optimism that was making him uncomfortable.

As she sat on the exam table swinging her feet about like a carefree child and happily reporting that she was doing good, and was having a “great” week, I think he was beginning to see a whole new type of patient. I mean, who wouldn’t be devastated to learn this is how you’re going to die? That your life will be drastically cut short, and you may miss the things in life you’ve been dreaming of. Life’s road bumps can often rattle us so much so that we begin to forget how to get over them. I suppose he sees more patients unwilling to fight to get over that road bump than he does patients like my mom.

As I sat there watching her answer his questions I soon realized it was her hope that made him uncomfortable. “Hope” is often what is missing in those fellow cancer patients eyes.

People may think my mom is a little too positive, or hopeful perhaps, but I’ve come to realize that she’s the one doing it right. I believe her will to live and her belief in Gods miracles is what has brought her to today with news that her tumors are shrinking and the chemo is working. Against what her doctor felt was her fate, she has kept living. Not just breathing in and out, but really living. Taking each day as it comes, building relationships and mending those broken, sharing love with friends and family, and making trips. An incredible mother doesn’t quite cut it, she is truly an incredible human.

Mom always complained about my tendency to procrastinate. I suppose she’s finally winning that battle for I will never let my life slip swiftly through my fingers for every day is worthy of celebration. Every day we should be looking for the silver lining and spreading hope. There would be no reason to sit there and list the negative aspects of this experience at every doctor appointment when now every day she’s wakes up breathing strong is a battle won.

Cliche lessons.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this, nor what I want to say. Sometimes I feel open, but mostly I feel closed. I can be walking through a grocery store or grabbing coffee and it’s as if the pain has stuck it’s foot out to trip me. Though I try to maintain my composure and grip, I sometimes crash to the floor.
At times I feel like I should be past this fear and pain and often wonder when that day will come. I want to find that day.
Often now it seems the sadness only pushes deeper beneath my ribs and rests their silently until I’m too happy or content. Against my best effort, sad always creeps in.
I want desperately to be happy. I also desperately want to take this away from her. I’ve thought plenty of times that if I could just switch places with her, I would. I would gladly take the cancer from her body and sit their peacefully as they pump poison into my body to fight the mutating cells. I think that’s the biggest problem, I cannot fix this.
Perhaps that is one of my greatest lessons to be learned.
I’ve avoided being cliche for fear of no one responding to these tokens of wisdom. I guess that’s a little silly though, and those things we deem “cliche” perhaps shouldn’t be called that at all.
So here it is, my cliche. Life is too short to take for granted, and the people you love today need to hear that you love them. It shouldn’t take an awful moment such as this to be our reminder to call our loved ones simply to say hi. I suppose that’s the role a cliche plays. It’s so right, yet it takes being stopped in our tracks to even pay them any attention.
I have always been close to my mom, and even consider her my best friend. Since moving away from home I’ve called her every single day, a couple times a day. When mom got sick I didn’t have that moment of regret, but I can’t say that many others didn’t and it has been such a painful moment to watch play out again, and again. The ripple effect that moms diagnosis has had on other people has stretched beyond what I could have ever imagined.
I can only imagine now how much heavier my pain would feel had I not had such a strong connection with my mother already. I will always carry this lesson close to my heart for it is a profound one.
I know I will one day be happy, and the sadness won’t be threatening to creep in all the time. I also know that time does heal all wounds and eventually “sad” won’t be how I feel every day. I know that eventually I will move past this pain, and there I will meet happiness. I do understand however that sometimes our greatest lessons are learned from fear, and taught through pain.