I am learning the language of grace each day. Grace for myself. Grace for my children. Grace for my husband. Grace for my friends & family. Grace.
People ask me all the time how I’m doing. I really don’t know how to answer that. How do I explain that while I may be fine one second, give me one second more and I could feel like collapsing from fatigue or my emotions may betray me into a heaping ball of sobs? I am on medication that makes me nauseated and irritable. I have one year down and four more to go of that drug. As a side effect from chemo, my brain doesn’t make connections like it used to, and I find myself overwhelmed by the smallest tasks.
It is so much for me to get through my day just taking care of my children much less to have the strength to do laundry, clean my house, plan & make meals, de-clutter, etc. And I want to do more than just care for my children and Bri. I want to put the energy into loving them.
Someone (with good empathetic intentions) responded to this struggle with, “Oh, yes, taking care of children is overwhelming.” I wanted to cry when they said that because there was no understanding of the depth of my struggle. It is so beyond the normal. And normal for me before? It wasn’t overwhelming. There was rarely the question of, “How am I going to get through this day?” Home management came naturally for me, perhaps because I had such an amazing role model with my mom. Our home was a fairly well-oiled machine with a squeaky gear every now and then, but it was life and it was easy. Easy compared to this. I honestly have to pray every day for strength to just get out of bed because of the pain and fatigue that lingers.
One of our elders, Bruce, was encouraging me recently and said, “It’s so easy to think, ‘Oh Angie’s done with treatment. She’s better now.’ But recovery is a long, hard road.” He understood it. And it was so good to be understood. That each day is a battle. That I have no energy to pursue others. That pain is exhausting. That some days, I take a 4 hour nap. Yes, you read that right. Four hour naps. That if it weren’t for my mom, I don’t know how I’d do this.
How do I explain this? That tasks that used to take me 30 minutes now take 2 hours. How do I explain the anxiety and fear that washes over me with each new ache or pain? Is it new? Do my bones ache because cancer is forming? How do I explain the fact that the loneliness still remains? That I am unable to pursue others like I long to. That relationships are exhausting work for me, and I need all the strength I have for my family. That I need a place where I can just BE and not DO. Honestly, I haven’t found that safe place yet. Perhaps it’s my own hang-ups. Perhaps it’s a trust issue, because there is hurt there. Perhaps it’s my own issues and expectations I place on myself. Perhaps it’s a mixture of them all.
I’m learning to let go and not focus on what used to be, but to move toward the now. Today is what I have. Today is where I am. I can’t compare it with yesterday. I am different. I am changed. I am learning.
Yes, I am learning the language of grace each day. Grace for myself. Grace for my children. Grace for my husband. Grace for my friends & family. Grace. Beautiful grace.
“It is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace.” Hebrews 13:9