Today has been a hard day. Not hard in comparison with many days I have experienced, just kind of “life” hard. I have been quarantined to my bedroom because Ash sounds like he’s talking through a hollow log and complains of a sore throat. Bear is whiney and spent half the night coming up to our room because he couldn’t sleep (this is often a precursor to sickness with him). Brian abandoned us this morning for DC, and I am bitterly begrudging his escape. Fortunately, my parents are here, and Mom is busy caring for the kids while I am busy praying that she has some magic germ shield to keep her from catching whatever it is they’re fighting.
This wouldn’t be so difficult had it been a day or two ago when I was feeling rotten. For those of you who have never felt rotten… rotten=truck runs over body, then I suddenly hear annoying reverse beeps. Unable to move, I watch in horror as it backs over me and crushes my body again. Today my body feels less like tarmac and more like a robot; all stiff and straight, but at least it can move. I do feel viable, so I may venture out of my room (but not before donning my surgical mask for protection; trust me, it is the height of fashion.) to do a few chores, and I may actually be productive in my room by working on the clutter… only most of the clutter is Brian’s desk. *sigh* That and the billion prescription bottles on my chest of drawers. (Side note: in all fairness to Brian, a lot of the mess on his desk has come from the home school papers, insurance EOB’s, books and letters I’ve received, so I have helped contribute to the clutter.)
Okay, so what is the point of this blog? I’m not sure it even has a point. Unfortunately, since my room is not the most clutter free zone; the chaos level in my mind has gone up as well. In all my spare time this morning, I have been soooo productive (insert cynical snort here). I’m pretty much living up in my room with my laptop, Bible and a few good books. I recently found some really cool websites written by other women, and am finding some good reads there and something to challenge my mind with Scripture, politics, health and more. I am also watching movies in bits and pieces.
I found myself watching the end of some football show and sobbing like a child with a skinned knee when the protagonists won the game. (Side note #2: it is not uncommon for me to sob like a child over anything, nor is it uncommon for me to be grossly emotional over sports.) As I lay here trying to control my tears, I asked myself what on earth was wrong with me. Why in Heaven’s name was I bawling over something so minor? Well, of course, whenever I ask myself anything, it’s like taking my thumb out of the hole in the dike only to find the dam bursting and flooding my mind with all the reasons I should be sobbing.
Grief is a funny thing. It hits at the most unexpected times… like when I’m in the shower and automatically reach up to squeeze the water out of my hair, only there’s no hair to squeeze, and I find myself raining tears on the shower floor… or when I take in a huge whiff of Brian’s Starbucks Breakfast Blend coffee and I am suddenly nauseated and could fill his travel mug with my tears… or when I watch my kids play football with Adam and Tim and Daddy and I want to jump in and tackle someone only to find my limbs are too achy to even move, but those tear ducts work just fine. The loss is always there, somewhere.
My friend, Monica, once told me to be gentle on my heart. For a recovering legalist with guilt issues, those were some of the best words she could have ever uttered to me. The guilt is always there, somewhere, too. I would be a fool not to admit that a portion of my grief is self-centered… I feel guilty because I can’t do things with my kids like I used to. I feel guilty because Brian had to be Mr. Mom for the holidays while I stayed in bed. I feel guilty because someone else took Micah out for his birthday, and I should have been there. Then I lie in my puddles of self-consumption and grieve for myself until the Lord mercifully restores my depth perception.
I struggle with all the things my children have lost this year. Honestly, I think what hit me during my football grief this morning was the realization that Asher missed another opportunity to get involved in team sports this fall and upcoming spring, something he’s longing to do. It’s the missed art classes and Sunday Schools and birthday parties and friendships they are missing out on that hurt my heart. I grieve because it hurts them so much.
As I watch them hurt and as I long to be the mom to them the way I always have, I realize at the same time that they are growing in ways they wouldn’t have had I not gotten cancer. My children are developing hearts of compassion for the suffering. They are more thoughtful and considerate. They are genuinely loving and let people know how loved they are. They are learning to live each day for what it is and they are thankful. And I am learning a lot by living through the eyes of my children. Yes, the loss is always there, somewhere, but so is the joy and the laughter and the love. You can probably guess what that does for me… yes, I am sobbing like a child once again.