Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Cancer Everywhere

Since the two year anniversary of Grace's relapse on August 7th, cancer has been haunting me.

I see it everywhere. I've had more PTSD moments and more memories than ever before.

On the 7th I kept feeling panic and fear and couldn't understand why, because Grace is doing amazing. Then I remembered what my subconscious couldn't forget. All the feelings from that day came back to life and there was nowhere for me to hide from them.

I haven't worried about Grace relapsing since she went swimming at a friend's house and got petechiae (bruising) from her swim goggles. I had a full blown panic attack, but that's been the only time this year that I considered that Grace could relapse.

Maybe that's why these memories are here. When she was first finished treatment, three years ago, I was so consumed with the fear that Grace would relapse, that I didn't have any room left to feel with. Then she relapsed. Then one year in isolation at home. This is the first year that has felt safe since 2014 when she was first diagnosed.

I now feel confident Grace is going to be ok from her bone marrow transplant, she's active and strong... maybe that's why my guard is down enough to remember again.

I'm thankful that I'm crying more, thankful that I'm hurting more. It's better than the hollowness of denial and depression. And I've been trying to accept each memory, name it as horrible, but allow it to exist. I thought maybe there was a way to heal it, a way to make it stop hurting, but there's not. There's no good way to kill it either.

Sometimes it feels like, why bother to remember and relive all the pain when it doesn't change anything, it just hurts? It does change something, the memories keep me from being a shell of a human. I'm hoping that each time I allow a memory or a feeling or a fear to exist that God can help it hurt a little less. And maybe it won't.

But these memories did happen, they exist as part of me. It still makes me feel completely helpless to remember, but that's the truth of life. We are helpless to control life or death. That in itself is a painful memory.

And I still have so much regret for not being able to do the impossible, as if it was somehow it was within my power to change what happened. I feel so much regret for the time stolen from my family.

I hate to admit this was my past, that these were my kids' childhoods. I hate it. I hate it!

I still wish I could have taken Grace's pain, I feel it so strong some days that I'd rather lay down and die than remember her in pain. I still have the feeling that maybe, just maybe, I could have done something different, and somehow, miraculously, I could have protected her from cancer.

I think today has been hard because it was the day Bailey was diagnosed four years ago and Julia posted about it. I just remembered how much pain Bailey was in before she died. They couldn't stop it, though she was on so much pain medicine. And when she died it was such a relief to know she wasn't suffering anymore. And I feel like less of a human for having ever thought that. But it's true. Death was God's answer to prayer to stop her pain, though my prayer had been for healing and life.

The memories make me feel so helpless. For a person who loves to solve problems, it's the deepest grief to watch my children suffer- Grace from cancer, Luke from loneliness- and not be able to do a damn thing to help them except to help them bear it.

It's 11pm...I have to go to sleep so I can make the kids lunch for school in the morning. Tonight's grief was a startling burst.

So with that, I must go to sleep. I put my hope in God's hands, and my head on his shoulder so he can hold me. I need it tonight. In the morning I'll wake refreshed and get to see my kids smiling again, ready to start life new everyday.

And that's why these memories are good, they remind me each day to be thankful, to readjust my priorities, to laugh more and to not take anything for granted.

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