This is the face of a young woman who is taking her last round of Chemotherapy, yesterday, Tuesday, January 24, 2017. I am grateful to God for all of His mercy.
Guess what? I didn’t realize until yesterday how much my daughter’s illness had taken a toll on me, too. But when I knew that she wouldn’t have to be extremely sick for days on end; when I realized that she wouldn’t blow up any more (she got bigger from the 3 different chemo medicines they were giving her), when I knew that I wouldn’t have to hold back my own emotions when she would say to me, “Mom, I’m just sick, so sick,” after she took those treatments; when I saw that she smiled genuinely in this photo; when she called me and said, “Mom, in two weeks we are all going to Red Lobster, and I am going to eat and enjoy it,” (she didn’t enjoy eating for months because she said that all she could taste was the medicines they gave her). When I could see that she wouldn’t spend hours just lying in the bed trying to rest from those treatments; when I knew that eventually her hair would grow back; when I knew that my youngest daughter had changed tremendously during this ordeal and that she’d never be the same; she had grown up that much more; when I knew that she was planning for the future when she said to me, “Mom, I want to move to another state…” When I weighed all of these items, I realized that I was weak with relief. I really couldn’t do much yesterday except thank God.
Friends, we’re connected to those we love and what happens to them affects us. You may say, “I know that.” But when you have to stand by and helplessly watch as the one you love suffers, whatever the issue, be it physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, or spiritually; you’ll see even more clearly that you suffer along with them.
For the first time in months I am focusing on myself. But if I am to be honest, I still have one eye on her. She will still have rounds of tests to do and blood to be drawn from time to time, but on a whole I have to say WE have come a long, long way.
I CAN FINALLY TAKE A BREATH!
Late last night, Sunday the 11th of December, I spoke with Johanna before she retired for the night and I could tell that she wasn’t so strained. I asked as I always do, “Johanna, how are you feeling?” When she spoke I could immediately tell that her voice was a bit stronger. She said, “I am a little better, Ma.” When she said that, I took a long deep breath. I smile as I think about it now. I really didn’t realize that when she and I spoke I was holding my breath. Most of last week and the weekend she was terribly sad and sick and she had little to no strength. When she would cry a bit, I wouldn’t really know what to say. It’s normally easy to speak when not sitting in the hot seat. But it wasn’t easy for me, so I just sat quiet and she began talking. That did my heart good. I just listened. I think the short talk was therapeutic for me, too.
I can breathe easily for a few days as she is stronger than she was all last week. When you love someone, especially your child, and they are going through difficulties and illnesses that you can’t take away or cure, you’ll find that everything gets in perspective. All of those “other” things that were so important before are quite unimportant. In fact they are an insult to the present circumstances. My desires fade away into one request: “God please let her get a little rest tonight.” That has been my one desire and the Lord granted my request. She is even laughing and talking more. I can finally take a breath.
It has been a whirlwind of activity and emotions with my daughter being sick. I have been examining my own reactions and thoughts about her condition:
I wondered why I wasn’t screaming, yelling and crying uncontrollably. It’s because first and foremost, “it’s not about me,” it’s about my daughter and her welfare and getting better. I don’t have time to indulge myself. Yes, at the beginning I cried for about 10 minutes. Then I stopped. She needs me.
I wondered why I didn’t say, “Why me or why my daughter?” It’s because I know that pain and heartache and sickness and disease inhabits this entire world. It’s because others that I love and know are suffering, too. I watch them and how they quietly do what is necessary to endure and get better. I think that it’s unfair to say why me when sickness comes to all of us. By me saying why me, I suggest that it’s alright for others to go through but not me or mine.
I wondered why I was exhausted and would fall into the bed sleeping heavily. It’s because, as a mom, I am anxious for my daughter. It’s because if I could, I would take the pain for her, but I can’t. I can, however, be there for her and do all I can do to make her trial of illness a little better. I can do that for sure.
I wondered why I am not out of my mind with worry. It’s because in that state of mind I cannot be of service to her. I can’t even pray for her like that. If nothing else I can be a support for her and comfort as much as I can. Worrying my hair out keeps me from doing that. She means more to me than my biting my nails down to the quick. I don’t have the right to do that. I have to be there for her.
Ultimately, I have a grip because the God whom I serve has already taken care of this situation.