Awake my Soul

I was so ignorant about the power that cancer holds. I was so unready. Is anyone ever ready for it?

Confusion and fear of the unknown clouded so much of my experience. Confusions from what the doctors where telling us, from the effects of cancer and “cancer killing” chemotherapy on the body, from all the conflicting emotions, from the relationships broken and strengthened, from the energy depleted and given, from the guilt and from the joy.

The doctors where giving protocols based on educated guesses at best. Pancreatic cancer is not one that many survive. Researching how to fight the cancer came up with so much more information and ideas than my mind was able to handle. My heart yearned for answers but there are so many half truths, lies feeding off desperate people and taking their money, special circumstances, and anecdotal evidence. Sifting through it all is impossible.

I was thriving in all the chaos and uncertainty though, as I do… a gift or a scar from my childhood. I was fighting the unraveling with control, knowledge and attempts at preparedness for every possible outcome. It was an exhausting, hyper alert state. It’s not just going down one road. It’s going down 18 different roads all at once and having all the emotions that go with each one, but keeping them all in check so I didn’t fall apart. It was unsustainable.

Then Mom was going to live… so it was safe to fall and feel again.

I’m choosing weakness and vulnerability now, or at least I’m trying to, and I’m starting to see strength and bravery in myself. I want to show my brokenness more and shine the strength that sits there. It’s scary and empowering.

It’s strange how just allowing yourself to feel is so healing. I’m still struggling but feeling that struggle is life-giving and so uncomfortable… Some days I feel pathetic, lazy and judged for being depressed now that Mom is getting better… She is going to live now, I should be elated. Why did the grief have to come now?

Days where I have practiced self-compassion, a skill I am very new too, I feel brave. I want my girls to know that bravery is not fearlessness, but that it is feeling that fear or sadness and still doing those hard things. So today, I’m scared, sad and wanting to give in to avoidance and numbness but I’m choosing to go forward and feel… Letting fear and grief sit and my table and mold me. It is all part of becoming a better version of myself.

This is a post I’m still wrapping my mind around. It was supposed to be a about celebration and our trip to Disneyland and morphed in to something totally different. Mom has been cancer free, officially, for 3 months now! I’m still processing the relief, the gratefulness, the guilt, and the exhaustion still. This is me tonight.

The trip was celebratory. Disneyland is the happiest place on earth. My kids, my sisters, spouses and Mom had a blast! It was a blessing and seeing Disneyland and the characters through my girls’ eyes. It was so fun to spend time as a larger family, connecting, laughing, hot tubbing, drinking and getting along! I’ll try to tell you about it again with pictures instead of words.

As fabulous as our celebration trip was, it was not restful… I still need the rest I think. Through rest, oils, yoga and a whole lot of self-compassion and care my soul is waking up again. There is a song, by Mumford and Sons, called Awake My Soul. It was on my ‘soul music’ playlist this past year. It speaks to my journey towards thankfulness through my moms cancer, to rest and a now to new realization of my being, or more appropriately, my becoming.

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