April 27, 2016
The call no parent wants to get. The imaginings that every mother lives through. The question to God that always follows devastating news.
Those things filled my world last week.
Waiting a week for test results was hard for my daughter. She tends to hold things in. Like me. She worried about her own daughters, wondering what might happen in a worst-case scenario. Even though she is a strong woman, I knew she would have a hard time with news I felt in my gut would come.
So what now? More waiting for more test results, more questions, more asking why. Then the day will come when she must go under the surgeon’s knife, and her life will forever change.
No, not forever.
There is the praise. In the forever part of our lives, we will be perfect. No disease, no scars, no fears. This is the promise we dig into with our fingernails when we feel we’re losing our grip. I wish I could boil that truth down to an elixir we could inject into our veins – to make it part of our very being, so much a part that we don’t waver one centimeter to the left or to the right. So much a part that fear and doubt are unable to penetrate our faith and peace.
This is what I wish for my daughter now and always. This is what I wish for all mothers out there who have felt their stomach hit their feet, who have clutched their head in their hands as they cried. This is what I wish for me.
It’s bound to happen in this sickly world. Someone we love will get bad news, and their life will be in danger. But this is not our home. This is temporary insanity that evil created. We don’t live here really – it’s just where we are for a while. Nothing here on this earth defines us – especially not cancer. Not if we are His.
I have a brand new filter for looking at life’s troubles, large and small, and I hope I’m able to respond to another’s sorrows more appropriately in the future than I have in the past. I think we all tend to be disappointed when those we want a comforting and understanding response from aren’t able or willing to give it. I’ve discovered that expectations in that regard seem to grow when we’re hurting. It’s something I’ll have to settle in my mind when this chapter is closed.
I’ve already been changed by this turn of events. As I read on Facebook the complaints and disparaging of those who are having a bad day, or stressed by their new high-paying job, or bummed that it’s raining on their tropical vacation, I have to bite my “tongue”. I want to gently comment and tell them I would gladly trade sorrows with them. But at the same time, I must extend the grace I hope to receive when I slip into my blinders on bad days. It’s just life.
So, what now? I let my daughter take one day at a time, let her teach me as I hope I have taught her. She is a survivor, she will be a survivor. I will try to be what she needs in a parent. I will warn every young woman who thinks she is too young to get breast cancer to start doing self-exams. It’s how my daughter was diagnosed – she found it herself. This terrible disease is reaching women at a younger age than ever before.
It’s hard not to fear the worst. But we are blessed to have a God who is in control of everything, even if it’s just having a bad day.
Be grateful, compassionate, understanding, and keep reaching…