When we first started this whole journey with IT, I was numb.
There. I said it.
I admit it.
I remember chasing thoughts that were running through my head so quickly that I couldn’t catch up.
I tried to push through the emotion because I had to. I had two little girls who needed me to be strong. And I had a husband who needed me to be strong. And I needed me to be strong.
But sometimes, contrary to what some of you may think, I am not always strong.
I have a good cry.
And I move on.
Before IT, I never understood those movies and commercials where women would “have a good cry” and feel better. Crying never made me feel better…until all of this happened. It’s a cathartic release of emotion that does make me feel better, or at least a little more me again. It’s an opportunity to let your frustrations, fear and feelings of inadequacy out. An opportunity to move on, accept the things that are happening (you don’t have to like it – but you do have to accept it!), and make a plan for how you will react when something else happens. And, as we’ve found out, something else undoubtedly will happen.
Nearly two years later, there are still days where I’m not sure what to make of this whole situation.
Some days, I think I have it all figured out.
Other days, I feel like our world is falling apart.
And then there are days where I just want to go back, rewind our life if you will – and other days when I couldn’t even possibly think of doing such a thing.
One feeling that is constant for me is that “everything happens for a reason”. I have always felt this way, even before Chad was diagnosed. But having a terminally ill loved one makes that phrase a little more visceral.
God does not give us more than we can handle, and we are handling things the best we can. That’s all He asks of us.
I still don’t always know what to think of our life with IT.
We think we have IT figured out, and then IT changes.
We think we know what to expect with IT, and then we get new symptoms to report and diagnose.
IT is a mystery. And Chad and I are both exhausted with IT.
We wish we could say we’re done with IT.
While I sincerely appreciate all of the kind words that people bestow upon me, I often find myself questioning them.
What am I doing that is so extraordinary?
I love my husband. And I am taking care of him, and our family, the best I can. I don’t think that’s extraordinary. It’s just what I signed up for when I married him eight years ago. “In sickness and in health…” I truly meant that.
How do I stay so positive?
I’ll let you in on a little secret: I am not always positive.
But I try my best to keep those moments to myself because they do not do anyone else any good.
Especially my children: if they see that I am okay, then all is right within their little world. As soon as I start to crack, they react – and they are instantly upset. My children are resilient little girls; they have dealt with so much and take it all in stride. I am so proud of them for asking hard questions, and even prouder that they have remained their cheerful little selves throughout this ordeal.
“You make it seem so easy – everything you’re dealing with.”
I assure you, it’s not easy. But we both try to keep living, the best we can. Life still goes on. Our children still need to be parented. I still have to make meals. I still have to go grocery shopping. I still have to work. I still have to be thankful that our life is tangibly beautiful. There are many things we have to be thankful for, despite the hardships we face. We are here – together – and that’s all that really, truly matters.
I am very thankful for my friends and family, for whom I do not think I thank enough. I appreciate your kindness, thoughtful words, ability to listen without judgment, and I appreciate your shoulder when I need to have a good cry.
This week, we will travel to Winston-Salem to see Chad’s neurosurgeon after an MRI tomorrow.
Our trip will be one week shy of Chad’s two-year diagnosis anniversary.
It doesn’t feel like two years have passed. It feels like a lifetime.
But we are still here. We are still thankful. And we are still living.