This blog has been silent for a while now. I couldn’t bear to write. The good things in my world have been living under the shadow of mountainous tragedy. I think I’m ready to let my heart bleed out and share my thoughts with those who listen.
There is so much negativity in this world. Everyone is treading water in their own ocean. It’s been hard for me to knowingly pollute those waters with my feelings. I know what it’s like to feel the weight of another’s burdens. Before now, to share my words felt irresponsible.
These days, I come home and lose myself in Grey’s Anatomy… for hours. It’s not a particularly good show, but it offers me something that nothing else can; a break. I have found a world that is more traumatic than mine. I play the game of “What Would Be Worse?”, and Grey’s Anatomy always wins. In real life, I always win.
So far, this year has been the best and worst year of my life.
I finished my cancer treatment. Brian and I bought a house. We got married. My mom and his grandpa were there. It was perfect.
The stars aligned for one day. For a moment in time, everyone was happy and safe and well (enough).
That was the eye of the storm. A perfect, destructive, violent storm.
Since that day, a series of events have unfolded that are too awful, too traumatic, and too rapid for any mortal’s existence.
Five days after the wedding, my mom crossed the barrier of existence. It is a loss that has not yet become real. There are moments when I am burned by my loss. When I want to text her, but can’t. When I want to get her opinion on finishes for the house, but can’t. When I want to sit and talk to her about this tremendous loss, only to remember that she’s the reason for my grief.
No matter how old you are, or they are, it’s never going to feel like the time you had was enough. It will always sting when you accidentally touch upon the gaping hole inside your heart that formed the moment when you said goodbye.
And so, with any broken heart, you must keep busy. You must surround yourself with joy and distraction and love.
And then came the second wave. A friend. Brian’s best friend.
The diagnosis was big enough to simultaneously punch us all directly in the gut. Winded. Sickened. Saddened. Heartbroken. Stage 4 bladder cancer.
I don’t understand how so much cancer can happen to one circle of love.
We pray that his treatments work. Despite everything we’ve been through, we hold onto hope for that.
And then, the 3rd wave.
We said goodbye to Brian’s grandfather after a long, hard, stubborn fight against COPD. He fought for every breath, every moment, every smile. He fought against the wishes of hospice to be at our wedding. He fought to celebrate another Father’s Day. And he fought to live through the birthdays of 2 of his grandchildren.
Grandpa was one of the special ones. Grandparents like him are on a whole different level. I recognized it immediately because I had a grandma like that. They spoil you rotten with love and affection. They are warm and kind and give hugs that can magically center the world when it spins out of control.
Grandpa passed away the day after the birthdays, which didn’t surprise me. He would never allow for such a tragedy to occur on a day of celebration. He did everything he could to reduce the inevitable pain that his passing would bring.
I was lucky to know him. I always said that he adopted me and I adopted him right back. I will miss him.
This is my life.
At this very moment, I am fighting with ever ounce of my being to just be happy. I succeed in the moments in between. I am happy to go to work. I am happy to be with friends and family. I am happy when I have a moment of quiet. I find joy in the small things… the “normal” things.
And then there are the other times… the times when I cannot stop the flood of memories. I remember the hospital and watching my mom slip away. I remember leaving her body behind and feeling like someone had just made a momentous mistake. I remember sitting on the rock with my sister at the edge of the world… as we both took hold of the bag of ashes and ripped the plastic to let our mom dive into the ocean one last time.
God never gives you more than you can handle.
Just when I think I can’t take another step, more mountains appear and I have no choice but to climb. We all have reserves of strength buried within. We’re all capable of so much more than we imagine. You fight through the blinding, burning tears. You put one foot in front of the other until you feel the gentle nudge of God’s hand telling you to turn around and make your descent from the mountain you’ve been climbing.
I am sitting on my mountain. I am waiting for my sign that it’s safe to turn around.