Monday, January 13, 2014

Authentic Heart Revealed-Surprised Last Friday by Gut-Wrenching, Pent-up Grief.

Last Friday I was browsing through my facebook news feed and I clicked on the following link that somebody had posted:

Almost immediately upon playing the video clip, the tears started pouring out.  And they didn't stop.  The video was about 14 minutes long, and I sobbed the whole way through.  As it ended I was still sobbing.  I went and found my husband and he wrapped his arms around me and held me as I sobbed for a good 20 minutes more.  Finally I calmed down and we looked at each other and I just said, "Wow.  I had no idea that was in there."  He gently smiled at me and said, "I bet it was good for you to get that out."

The reason why the story of this woman pierced me so deeply is that I have had to face my own possible death and then possibly leaving behind my own 18 month old son 2 times now since he was born.  I was diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer when William was about 7 weeks old, in September of 2012, and I had radiation when he was 5 1/2 months old, last January.  Then in October of 2013, during my first follow up routine ultrasound, the radiologist found 4 lymph nodes that looked "abnormal".

I had to wait about 2 weeks for a biopsy, and during that time I was in a very dark place emotionally as I faced the possibility that the cancer had returned and was now in my lymph nodes.  I will tell you what that felt like.  Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING disappeared and was completely nonexistent to me except for my son.  There is no deeper grief than thinking you will die and leave your child behind, alone in the world without you to love, nurture, guide, teach, protect, comfort, and just be there for him.  (Except perhaps losing your child, and I hope I never have to face that situation)

I begged everyone I knew to pray their butts off for me to be completely healed of all the cancer.  And I felt a peace as I underwent the biopsy, even though having 4 long needles stuck deeply into your neck and jiggled around to collect tissue samples is a pretty horrible experience (I always have issues with anesthesia working properly for me).  The results of the biopsies were negative.  I was overwhelmed with gratefulness.  I had really thought my goose was cooked.  And now I was going to live after all.  And have more time with my beloved sweet William.

So this woman's story had turned out to be the worst case scenario, the realization of all my deepest fears.  She had to leave her 2 year old baby.  He would never know her.  He would very quickly forget her.  All the kisses, the cuddles, the first tooth, the first steps, all those moments she had treasured up in her heart.  They were foundational for that little boy, BUT HE WOULDN'T REMEMBER HER.  And that could have been William and I.  And that is just so sad.  I am actually crying again as I type this.

I know that sometimes I process emotions kind of abnormally (based on suppressing negative emotions as I grew up in an abusive family).  I think what happened was this-when I found out the biopsies were negative, I was literally high on giddy happiness for a good week. I think those other emotions just kind of got pushed aside.  Apparently they were still in there though.  And waiting to come out.  I feel better now since "The Big Cry", more at peace inside, so I am thankful for the experience, completely unexpected as it was.

Of course this cloud has a silver lining, and I am the type of person to always focus on the silver linings in life ( a definite side effect of my lifelong Christian faith based on some very helpful advice given in the Bible), but for some reason I feel like it was really important that I acknowledge the cloud in this instance.

However, since I must always end on a sunny note, (just my natural personality) here are the silver linings:
-I am unbelievably thankful for and overwhelmingly appreciative of my little boy in an intensely poignant way that I think may be unusual in our world.  In short, I am madly, head-over-heels in love with him!  Having had the very real possibility of having motherhood taken away from me TWICE in his first 18 months of life has made me very aware of how fragile and PRECIOUS life is, and how we need to RELISH it WHOLEHEARTEDLY because we've just got the one shot folks!
-I feel God is very sternly telling me to take better care of myself, since this is clearly a SECOND CHANCE.  This means eat the damn fruits and vegetables Christina!  Oh yeah, and walk 30-60 minutes a day. And maybe try to fit in some yoga once a week. That's it. Otherwise I'm doing pretty good.  I guess those could be my new year's resolutions.


1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your insights, and for the beautiful thankfulness for each moment that comes bursting through your personality! So glad I met you yesterday - Julie :)