Updated: Sep 30, 2020
I didn't want to take my daughter dress shopping........I am cringing as I write this. But is true.
I was tired. I was FATII GUED and my body ached. It is SO hard to balance work and personal life. I can't seem to figure out the balance of it all; living with cancer and the treatments.
It did not seem like my idea of fun to go shopping. My friends tease me because my husband enjoys shopping a little bit, okay A LOT bit more than me. I feel blessed that he enjoys shopping and my daughter likes to go with him. So when I am gone I know she will still be supported.
See...... darkness always crowds my mind. I think in "what ifs" sometimes it is SO hard to get away from it.
It is ironic that I don't enjoy shopping. I was a huge shopper in high school and spent many hours at the mall. So I left it that my husband would take my daughter to get a dress for her FIRST semi-formal dance and that would be that.
But then my friend, Erin died. Cancer stole her life. She has 3 young boys at home. It struck me to my core that she never got to shop for formal wear with her boys. She will never get to see her boys in suits or tuxedos. She will never see them going to proms, graduating, and getting married.
It smacked me in the face, I have THIS opportunity to create amazing memories with my child. With most women living with metastatic breast cancer surviving only 2-3 years. I too may be denied some of life's greatest moments with my children.
I NEEDED to take her dress shopping. Not only that I needed to, but I WANTED to. I wanted to see that smile on her face. I wanted to create some beautiful memories.
We had The. Best. Time. I so loved seeing her twirl in the dresses, seeing her smile at herself in the mirror. To watch her be so confident and beautiful in her dress. It was easy to see her favorite dress as her eyes lit up. This was such a perfect moment. We had a great time at dinner too. Taking silly pictures with snap chat filters and my soul was full.
I thought to myself that Erin's death reinvigorated my will to get out more and do things. It is hard. I am still tired. My body still hurts. I can't think positive thoughts to make the pain go away but I don't want to miss making these memories, so I push forward.
As I write this, my anxiety spikes. It can be very exhausting to live in the moment and make those memories wanting to DO everything. Because there is always this REAL fear that it could be the last one.
It is paralyzing to walk this tight rope.
One side of the mania is to go and DO IT ALL. The flip-side of that is to avoid and to do nothing. To make less of a footprint on the heart of my children because then when I am gone maybe they won't miss me as much. My thoughts can drive me crazy train!
One day I feel so GOOD and have faith that I WILL be one of the 5%. I am going to be an exceptional responder so it is okay to rest and not go watch that soccer game.
But then remember, Erin, that I met not even quite a year ago killed by MBC. Another awesome lady, Cheryl, that I just met in September taken too soon from this disease. AND my newest friend, Angie, that I met in January has started hospice; her liver and lungs are full of cancer. Can you SEE why it is SO HARD to rest and not worry????? EVERYDAY someone dies from metastatic breast cancer.
This new world I live in is hard. I realize that it could be me. I could be gone in a year.......today it really messed with my brain. I called my husband crying because I was trying to figure out how to get my son ready for the dance and take pictures and bebop over and see Anna getting ready at her friend's house for the dance. He had to work so I was trying to do all things. I didn't want to miss seeing these moments. It rocked me to my core that what if this is MY moment????
What if I don't get to be there for prom, graduations, and weddings.
So I praise God for my husband who takes my obsessive need to try to be everything to everyone serious and came home early to help. AND having an amazing sister who came to the house to be part of this special day. It was a silly semi formal dance but in my eyes I was envisioning wedding days.
This is My blessing and curse.
I know that my life will be short
****As I post this my sister reminds me that we don't know my life will be short. Only God knows.... Hmmm, So true! Amend that thought****
My life will be what HE wants it to be. SO I now look at these events through a new lens. I can be fully present for these mundane moment because they are amazing miracles to me, BUT it is a heavy burden to bear.
All the what ifs, the fears of not seeing them grow up, and the fear of leaving my husband alone. So I take a deep breath. Maybe a few hundred deep breaths and CHOOSE joy. It is a choice that I actively have to make daily. It is NOT easy. But I relish the moments I have now and have FAITH that I will be here with my family for a long time.
So know that sometime when I down, or you don't hear from me or I have a distant look in my eyes it is because my life is a tight rope. Sometime I am holding on to a helium balloon and floating through my life living with cancer. Other times it is a lead balloon threatening to pull me off the tight rope and it takes my breath away.
This is real talk. This is one snap shot of my everyday life. It can be overwhelming and exhausting both physically and mentally.
Hug your love ones. Live in the moments. Truly be present with your family and friends.
Put the phone down and connect on a personal level.
Take risks. Live life. Love life. Be happy. Choose Joy. Have Faith. Be hopeful.