As a brain cancer caregiver, you experience many “firsts.” The first visit to the E.R., the first seizure, first MRI, first surgery, first radiation treatment, first chemotherapy treatment, maybe even the first recurrence…and the list goes on.
You get membership into a club that you never even knew existed. If you had, you wouldn’t have desired inclusion.
Aside from the many firsts, there are also a long list of “lasts,” “no longers,” or “no mores.” These are usually more difficult to discuss. These are the losses that we silently grieve along the way. They don’t often come all at once. Some changes are small and subtler, others are more obvious and noticeable.
We are constantly grieving the changes.
Thinking about the past and the way life used to be before cancer can often be a very slippery slope. You can find yourself sad, angry and even bitter about the present reality verses being grateful for what you have and the time you have been given.
If I’m not careful, its easy to slide into the lonely land of “have nots” and wallow there for a while.
Things that were once enjoyed are now no longer even tolerated because of this thief known as Glioblastoma brain cancer.
Simple things like boisterous laughter, the silliness and innocence of children playing, is no longer music to my mom’s ears; it’s more like the deafening clamor of a noisy gong.
Holidays used to be full of life, movement, celebration, care-free laughter and joyful noise.
Today, we are forced into making trades.
We have traded crowds for the comfort of home. We have traded parades, parties and festivals for afternoon naps, quiet card games, and puzzles.
Big food spreads have been swapped out for simple meals and large gatherings have been shrunk into intimate family moments.
None of these things are bad. In fact, they are their own kind of beautiful. However, they are different. They are a new kind of ‘normal.’
However, they feel anything but “normal.”
I cannot lie. I do miss our old traditions; the way things used to be before cancer.
I know that things will never look and feel the same again but if I don’t voice it, it will fester. Harboring these feelings inside wears me down and suffocates my soul.
I’m fearful that if I allow myself to long for what used to be, I will tarnish the moments that have been entrusted to me; the sacred moments of the here and now and the ones to come.
I don’t want to miss what is in front of me because I’m longing for a time that has passed and will never return.
I want to embrace the moments that I have now and be grateful that I have this moment at all…period.
So many are grieving because they have no more moments. Sometimes it’s just HARD accepting the realities of what cancer has done.
I need to be vigilant and fight for dear life to hold on to gratitude and the gift of today. I pray for the Lord to give be strength to resist the temptation to wish for things to be different, to wish to go back in time…to a time before cancer.
I want to bask in the glory and blessing of what God has gifted us with…the treasure of today.
Lord, I pray you will help me seek joy and contentment with this moment, “after” cancer.
Help me fully embrace and engage with the gift of this precious present and find meaning and purpose in this moment…just the way that it is…the way you designed it to be.
Father, help my spirit savor the “haves,” as I slowly learn to release my grasp and let go of the “have nots.”