I have good news to report; mom is still using her walker. No, it’s not big news or even important news to many but me, but it’s something and definitely better than the alternative of me coming here and writing yet another post about her falling down.
The thing is, after dealing with so much this year, I have learned to celebrate the little blessings that come my way. Every day of our lives we are blessed, yet it’s so easy to get caught up in dealing with all the things that we, as human beings must face. Life is hard and dealing with cancer is nothing less than hellish, but there are other upsetting things many people face every day that are just as upsetting.
Looking back on this past year and all that mom and I have been through really makes me wonder. First, I wonder how we got through it and then I wonder how we got through it with any kind of sanity.
Part of the answer rests on being spiritual people, my wonderful and supportive friends and the other rests on our mental attitude. All three of these elements have played essential roles in not only helping mom and I, but also sustaining us.
Recently I had a friend say to me that to them, it appeared that lately my life was nothing but a series of trials and they hoped I would eventually get past them. I understood what they meant, but perhaps because I’m me and known to see things differently than most, I didn’t thank them for saying this. Instead, I said that life in general is a series of trials and tests. We all go through things, we learn life lessons and then go to the next series of trials, tests and life lessons. It’s an ongoing process. Now granted losing my dad and mom having cancer have been tough experiences to go through, just the same I feel like I’ve definitely become a person because of the lessons I’ve learned.
Now clearly I would never have chosen to go through any of this. It would be great if various life events didn’t or couldn’t occur without our permission, but that just isn’t the way it is. Just the same, I don’t feel that anything I’ve been through is any more important or big than all the millions of things others are going through right now.
The truth is, we’re all going through some thing. Some are facing financial crisis, others have lost a spouse or a child, while others are going through wars or dealing with failing health or old age. Then there’s that old favorite “stress.” We’re all dealing with that one in one way or another. I think one of the main things that’s helped me, aside from my friends and my relationship with God, has been the fact that even though I was clearly going through a trial, I didn’t view it as one. I see that’s what it was now, but at the time, I was just doing whatever I could to help mom. We were in survival mode. The cancer and the need to help her get through it took over everything. There was no time to think about what was going on. We were in the trenches with bullets flying over our heads.
Now, we’ve begun the process of settling back into our lives and learning what it’s like not to have cancer as the main focus of everything and that has been an adventure in and of itself.
It’s too easy to lose sight of all the miracles we are blessed with everyday, but they are there even and especially during difficult times. Everything feels deeper now. The friendships I had before beginning this cancer journey with mom, have become deeper and more meaningful. My relationship with God has become stronger and I am stronger. I have grown into myself through this year and found that I do indeed have what it takes to step up to the plate and handle things. I’ve had weak moments of course. I’m not Superman, but there is something to be said about being tested to this degree and finding out that you are indeed both capable and strong.
One of the best lessons that cancer has brought to me, is the realization seemingly little or unimportant things are indeed great and that during my most difficult trials those little things are the things I’ve clung to and drawn our strength from.
As I continue to mourn the loss of my father, the memories that have risen to the surface haven’t been so much about the trials of that relationship, as much as the times when he and I had normal little father/daughter moments where we shared a story or a meal. He had unending patience when it came to trying to teach me how to tie my shoes. He even found a little poem called, “Try, Try Again,” that he would recite to me as I repeatedly tried and failed to master this simple task. The head injury I’d suffered as a child made it all but impossible then and it wasn’t until years later that I learned the reason. Dad never knew, we never talked about it. That along with a number of other things, were never discussed between us. Yet, now I remember his loving patience with me. I don’t know if it sprung from guilt or not, but really it doesn’t matter. He loved me enough to try. “Try, Try, Again.” And eventually yes, I did learn to tie my shoes.
So yeah, mom has used her walker everyday this week and I feel blessed that hopefully, finally she’s got the message that for right now she needs it, but if she forgets again and has another fall, we will try, try again and continue to do from trial to trial, test to test and lesson and lesson.
Cancer is a journey like life is a journey, and we can all make it if remember that we are strong and we are blessed and as long as we are here, we have the opportunity to try, try again.