I suppose my last post was a bit premature, though it was true. It is amazing how something gentle can shift everything, even if it is only temporary.
After my post, I went to a meeting for an organization I belong to. I expected to get lots of hugs and inquiries about my health and my status. I was looking forward to thanking people in person for their kindness, but felt shy about the possible attention.
The hugs were nice, the kind words and gestures were appreciated. I was glad to have gone and it was not as much of a burden to my shy side as I thought it might be,
But at the end, as I was walking away. One of the friends who was there often for me asked me how I was and I replied with my usual. I am good, lots to be thankful for, one day at a time. She grabbed my arm and said lets sit and tell me what you mean by this one day at a time thing?
I was stunned, she had latched on the the subtle nuance of such an expression and knew that my words were far cheerier than I felt.
So we sat down, and I tried to explain that navigating the whole thing is complex. Yes, I fully see that there is so much that is good but that there is still the tough that needs to be dealt with. Being told you have cancer is more complex that I had thought, especially given the provisions that no chemo or radiation is needed, like those somehow would allow (key word here is allow) someone to feel like shit. Please don’t think I am trying to diminish chemo or radiation and that people who have to go through that are somehow exception in some regard… because they actually are exception. What I feel like I am missing is permission to grieve this process and that my grieving is allowed to be more than just sad. After I feebly tried to communicate these ideas to her, I just looked at the hands in my lap and said, I want to be allowed my pity party, I just don’t know how.
She touched my arm and said you are allowed a pity party and I want to be invited, lets go get some wine together soon.
It was so beautiful being allowed to feel this way instead of being held to strict gratitude. My heart filled with something, I would hope it was grace.
I am not sure she knew what I was talking about or understood what I was trying to say, but she asked and then listened… holy moly… what a gift. She asked, she allowed me to tell her something closer to the truth about how I am feeling, In a world dependent on daily platitudes (“How are you?” – “I am OK”) it was mind altering to pass that realm and move in to more of the brutal truth.
It is part of the dynamic between celebrating that I don’t need chemo or radiation or that my tumor was so freakishly small AND the whole truth in that it was fucking cancer and it robbed me of some things that I held dear. I am grieving.
I don’t think I am headed to deterioration. I know I will be fine, but this is a part of what has happened and is happening to me. I own it.
“Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break.” ~ William Shakespeare
After the sincere gesture of my dear friend, I felt more lighthearted yesterday. It was a busy day, work with extra duties, rush to help Squink finish his homework, a school meeting for an exchange program, and cub scouts.
I was too busy to notice much more than the heaviness of my surgery site.
A dash of 9
We all woke up early, and in good moods. I even served Squink some oatmeal and let him eat it in bed. On my way to the kitchen, I noticed how amazingly pretty my orchid plant was.
It was beautiful.