In the last nine months, there has been private conversation, serious private concern, and more responsive caring from friends, old and new, tried and true, and people from the past and the present. Our circles are bigger than we think when the stuff hits the fan. We just have to be ready to let people in. Might not always be easy to share the things that we are feeling, because it seems so private, but the process of sharing is what cracks open the door.
Cancer is a full-time job for the person with cancer. It is individualized and unique, which is why it's so hard to quell. The medical system does a pretty excellent job of working with the patients and finding new ways to circumvent the spread and stress of the big C. Supporting someone with cancer is also a big job. For me it didn't feel like I got a lot of support to be the supporter, but that was because I was wearing my blinders of resentment and sorrow. The vortex of the stress was (and still is) demanding. The workplace issues that are going on right now are immense and wearying. The extra hours of work required during the busy times of summer meant I had no time to breathe, to be positive, and to be "on". And then there are the three teenagers in the house. All need time and attention and require my love and attention.
Several weeks ago the kids and I attended a presentation by Kim Phuc at the St. Boniface Cathedral. She said something that spoke directly to me:
Give yourself the permission to have a new dream!
Sure enough -- the vision, the plans, and the dreams we have require regular maintenance. If we think our bodies and minds need refreshing, I would like to suggest that we also need to refresh our dreams and visions for ourselves. So it's flawed, so it isn't "perfect" the way the propaganda says it should be. It's the life I'm living, and I have to live it. Kim didn't ask to have napalm dropped on her 9 year old body and then spend much time recovering and learning to live with the new "her". She is a peaceful and positive role model who has come to this awareness as a way to move forward.
There's no way Tom asked to have the horrible fact of life of cancer in his life. There's no way I asked for it to happen either, but I have to give myself the permission to make the switch in mindset, to incorporate what has happened and to deal with it gracefully. I didn't ask for my workplace to become completely turned upside down, but that's what has happened. My job is to keep things going for the students who are registered in our programs and that's what I keep doing. My B.Ed. program is moving along, with a potential grad date of May, 2014, so that's a big part of the new dream. Keep revising, changing, and moving the plan. It's always ready for a shift.
So thanks to all the friends and people who have weighed in with positive contributions, thoughts, and hope and prayer. It makes a difference!