“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” C.S. Lewis

IF.  If there was a way to sum up the last six weeks.  But of course not.

I tremble, just a little, at the idea of eventually hitting the word publish to the right of the screen.  To say that words get stuck in my heart is an absolute understatement.  I have avoided blogging for so long – perhaps not because I had too little to say, but too much….

There have been words.  And words upon words.  I’ve yelled at someone for only the second time in my life this past month.  Imagine that – I’ve only ever been livid enough in my life to explode on people twice.  Circumstances are somewhat irrelevant to you, reader.  Suffice it to say – my emotions have been palpable.  My heart has been scratched… Like little flakes of fiberglass under the skin – it feels irritated, and raw, and pained.  I hurt.  And don’t recover well.

You must understand something.  I can share other people’s burdens.  LOVE to.  I may not carry them around the best the next day – but a difficult coffee is honestly my favourite thing in the world.  But, as a good friend put it so well today, we seem to be able to help other people draw up their own blue prints, but can’t build a house for ourselves. (She’s cut of the same cloth)  Perhaps it’s because being in the midst of something is such a different perspective.  Like zooming in on a freckle doesn’t tell you what a person’s face looks like.  I’m just too close to the pain this time around.

Thoughts are everywhere – do you follow?

My dear, dear friend lost his father the following week.  I sobbed.

I want to say more on that – but what is there to say?  I did not know his dad.  Met him once, and that but briefly.  But, I wanted to share in my friend’s pain. I can describe what it feels like to walk beside a friend, but that feels a little intrusive don’t you think?  Hurting with others is this odd odd path….

And then – the bliss of it – I spent a day with my sister and brother-in-law, as my niece came into this world.  Save my wedding day, and the birth of my own babes, I anticipate no day trumping the joys and blessings of that day.  Birth is beautiful – you learn what you’re made of.  Laurel is made of strength and fortitude and joy and beauty.  Leland is made of the sort of nurturing and protective and instinct I never knew he had – God is good.  And Charlotte is, naturally, perfect.  That the Lord would see fit to bless her and fill her with His strength and Spirit as she grows….


Are there words, for the last two weeks?  Heavy.  Weighty.   Faith-building.   Scary.

I got a quick text.  It didn’t say call me, but that’s what it meant of course.  I think it may have actually said “I don’t want to talk about it but…” But that, too, says call me.  I don’t listen well you see.  So I called.  And kept my composure as the world spun a little.  Don’t hate me friend, for saying it hurts.  I’d be lying if I said otherwise.  Life, sometimes, comes in hints.  It feels like a teaser though – I don’t what to toy with the “what ifs”, I want to deal with the realities.  Well, sort of.  I’m pretty sure when confirmation of anything comes, I’ll run from that too for some time.  I’ve never understood denial as a defense mechanism (well, of course I do, I hide parts of myself from myself so I don’t have to deal with myself all the time – but EXTERNAL realities?  Those should be easily grasped.)  It’s your hurt.  We won’t talk about that just yet.  The problem – the THING – that I struggle with, is that I won’t admit that it’s okay that these pains people have actually impact my life.  You’d love me less if I hurt less though.  Maybe not love less… respect less?  I don’t know.  I do know I wouldn’t be a good friend to you right now if I didn’t feel things so acutely.

The kicker.

Abnormal cells.  Huh.  Okay.  I’ve heard that before.  We can deal with that.  We get the test results on Monday… Okay – we won’t panic till Monday.  Am I allowed to panic on Monday?  If it is, can I panic on Monday?  Monday, February 21st, I come downstairs from a shower to see my family starting in on our hardwood floors.  Mom is standing in the middle of my living room floor, coat still on.  All I say… “And?”  Her eyes well up.  Her head bobs as she says “It’s cancer.”  Oh God.

We hug.  What else do you do?  You don’t talk.  There aren’t words yet.  When the tears stop long enough to catch a breath we discuss what this means.  Surgery.  More tests.  More waiting for reports.  And phone calls to make.  I sit on my bed as she cries while she calls my sister.  Cry as she calls my brother.  And then we get back to work.   The day is broken up by tears at times.  I hide from everyone as much as I can.  I grieve best in solitude….

Is it grief yet?  Is it too early to call it that?  I mourn a six letter word being in my life…  And today brought many realizations.  I realize I’m making that fateful decision to mourn what MAY BE (not even what WILL BE), instead of thriving in what IS.  Making the most of every day.  Remembering our true joys and blessings.  Remembering that life is but a vapor, and treasuring what matters… I gotta stop hurting all the time.

The problem is, that for all the talking I do with friends, I actually have no clue whatsoever how to give myself permission to feel the pain as my own.  It’s not my diagnosis.  Or my cancer.  It’s not my dad gone.  It’s not my fight.  It’s not my… it’s not my… those are what my head says.  Guilt, and fear, are actually the triumphant emotions right now.  Imagine.

I have had only one day without tears these last two weeks.  It makes me feel weak.  And irritable.  I think of my sister’s midwife though, telling her to sink into the pain, and watching her demeanor change when she stopped fighting it… I’m fighting the pain.  I’m making it ten times harder on myself than I have to.  I think that’s because sinking into it sounds like “giving in” – it doesn’t sound like working with what is already going on to bring about the changes that will happen whether you feel prepared or not….


Things I am not confused about in all of this.   God always gives His children BEST.  Best is not always easy, or what we want.  Best is what brings Him glory – and there is that in all of this.  I’ve been drawn closer to Him, and closer to my friends, and closer to my own heart in the last few weeks than ever before.  That is good.  And best….

This life is a vapor.  And it’s not HOME.  For the believer, it’s the absolute worst I’ll ever know.  The absolute, absolute worst in all of this is I spend a few decades without my mom, and an eternity with her.  It’s a drop in the eternal bucket.  The sooner we recognize the swiftness of this life, the better we’ll make the most of each second.

My friends, my family, are good people.  People who promise to be there.  People who’ve let me weep on them.  People who know how to ask just the right questions.  People who know when to call.  And when not to.   The Lord has lovingly provided me with an enormous network of loved ones to turn to to help show me kindness.  What a blessing…


I know these aren’t my battles.  That’s the crux of it.  The paradox.  Finding out how to support and lift up and walk with those who are actually the ones hurting, when you hurt yourself… I think that gets to be one my biggest lessons in all of this…









4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sam
    Mar 04, 2011 @ 08:48:08

    “Happiness is beneficial for the body, but it is grief that develops the powers of the mind”

    Finding the balance between the 2 can be hard, but, despite your thoughts on the matter you have the strength to even the scales.


  2. Carol Wiles
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 21:07:50

    WOW Nicole what a blog and it says it all Been there done it Have just been waiting to see how the outcome is with your Mom We see your Dad working in the back yard but I havent got the heart to ask or know what words to use. Carol Wiles


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