Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Living With Grace

It is a struggle, as I sit down to write this evening, to form all of my thoughts into a cohesive format.  This day...oh, my.

It started as a regular day with regular cinnamon toast.  Then Nurse came.  Ten minutes into her visit, I knew I was going to throw up, and promptly did so.  Maybe I have not made it clear here before, so I will do it now:  I hate vomiting.  It's for sure in my top 3 things I despise.  Right after I returned from brushing my teeth, Nurse re-introduced the prospects of "assistance equipment," including an oxygen tank and a wheelchair.  She first introduced the ideas during her visits last week, when I quickly and distinctly turned her down.

I lost the battle today.  I am now the horrified owner of a WHEELCHAIR, which you will NEVER see me in.

She left, and then I threw up twice more.

THEN, my sweet Goliath came to me to confess that he "accidentally" read something on my iPad that was hurtful to me, so it was also hurtful to him.  He was full of questions and a little bit angry.  That caused me to ask more questions and be a little a lot angry all over again.

Stupid day.

What I really want to do here, though, is tell you about last night.  This conversation happened:

Goliath:  So Mom, you know how you have that cancer?
Me:  Yes.  Yes, I do.
G:  Well, I need to talk to you about something.  I'm not sure if it's wrong or not, though.
Me:  You can tell me anything, buddy.
G:  You know I would do anything for you, right?
Me:  Yeah....
G:  Every night when I go to bed and I say my bedtime prayers, I pray for you to not have to have cancer anymore.  And a lot of nights, I pray that God would just give me your cancer instead.  You know, so I could be sick instead of you.
Me:  (Solid, streaming tears)
G:  Is it wrong for me to pray that, Mom?

I think at that very moment I understood for the first time how sad my parents must be.  Because the very thought of my baby having to go through this horrible, wretched disease made my head spin and my heart nearly split in two.  At the very thought.  

I somehow managed to keep my head on and I dried up my tears.  I told my precious baby boy how God doesn't want bad things to happen to us, but they do because we do not live in a perfect world.  I reminded him how God wanted perfection for us (remember the Garden of Eden?), but sin messed that all up.  I said to him that God has a good plan and great ideas for all of us, and as Christ-followers, one of the hardest things we have to do sometimes is to BELIEVE that is true and TRUST Him to see it through.  Yes, even if our mom has cancer.  Yes, even if it turns our lives upside down.  Yes, even if it sucks.  (I allow this boy 'o mine to say the word "sucks" only when it is used in combination with the word "cancer."  True mom story.)  
Then I said to Goliath that while I don't think he's necessarily wrong to pray this particular prayer, that I wish he wouldn't do it anymore.  Simply because I can't stand the thought that God could choose to answer his prayer.

No more than I can believe that I gave birth to a person who would do anything for me.  He's only twelve--and I totally believe he would do it if he could.  Grace is getting something you totally don't deserve...and if being this kid's mom isn't grace, I don't know what is.

Thursday, February 20, 2014


This is a weird time in my life.  I've tried to think of other, better words.  Lonely.  Scary.  Sad.  Weird.  I am working on creating--and accepting--a new normal for myself.  This week, I've resigned from one of my last just-for-me activities, a volunteer position at Goliath's middle school.  I simply don't have the energy or the physical stamina, to go and push buttons on a copy machine.  It's really unbelievable to me.  

I feel a little lost.  I feel easily replaceable.  It truly stuns me when I go out during the day and I see the little old man down the street preparing the soil in his gardens for the spring planting.  Or when I hear the stories from my friends of what they've been up to, or notice the neighbors coming and going while I sit in the front room.  Really....I don't expect that the world will continue to go like it always does--because I'm not in it.  My husband is slowly but steadily taking over a lot of my stuff at home.  My mom, and this week my dad, has been here taking care of me and doing a lot of the work.  My darling housekeeper is even coming two days a week instead of her usual one Tuesday to help out.

While I am so appreciative of these people who love me and are helping with the transition process for my cowboys, my old self wants to jump up and do it all--just because it is mine to do.  I want my mom to have her life back, my husband to just go to work and leave the running and the scheduling and the cooking to me, and I want Amparo to...well, I honestly don't mind her coming twice a week. I've finally found the solution to the laundry problem!!!

Mostly, I want my life back.  I'm not angry or anything.  Just sad.  Because I had this great world made out of kids and noise and food and preschool and friends and shopping and taking care of things and church and activity and sharing and being a part of people.  I mattered.  And it was meaningful and sometimes messy, but wonderfully beautiful life.  Now I have....what?  A good bed and a quiet room and a few pairs of pajamas that I wear all the time.  It pales in comparison.

A friend posted these words on Facebook last week from Jesus Calling:

"Thank Me for the conditions that are requiring you to be still...Instead of resenting the limitations of a weakened body, search for My way in the midst of those very circumstances.  Limitations can be liberating when your strongest desire is living close to Me...My strength and power show themselves most effective in weakness."

The day I read that, I wrote this in my journal:

"It's hard to be thankful for these conditions.  I overdid it yesterday, and I paid for it today.  It's so frustrating!  Why can't I have at least a semi-regular life where I can do at least a few normal things?  Can my limitations really be liberating???  Strong word.  Oh, for grace to trust Him more!"

I want to be thankful.  I really do.  Being still is hard.  Being weak is harder.  I know God is in this new chapter.  But the quieter it gets, the harder it is to hear Him.

Oh, for grace to trust Him more.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Insomniac Blogging: Thirteenth Edition

1:41 a.m.  Indescribable leg pain has me wide awake.  My hospice friends say the pain is most likely caused by tumors pressing on nerves in my legs and hips.  Can't think of a better reason or time to blog, can you?

--This is my newest prized possession:
I am reading it cover-to-cover, music-nerd style.  I have a long history with the hymnal, starting circa 1980, when I needed something to do to pass the time during the sermon.  When I was growing up, before the giant screens hit Baptist churches all across the great South, we actually used the hymnal as part of the church service.  In my growing-up hymnal, I knew that "Holy, Holy, Holy" was #2 and "Victory in Jesus" was #89.  My new red hymnal is a little different, but I am having a fabulous time singing my heart out in bed (and yes, Kelvin, practicing the Hallelujah Chorus)!  Smile.

--Campbell's advertises 32 feet of noodles in one can of their chicken noodle soup.  This grosses me out so much!  We will not be eating CNS at our house anytime soon.

--Baby:  Mom, which super power would you rather have?  Flying or web-slinging?
Me:  Flying, for sure.
Baby:  Me, too!!!  (...happily skips away....)

--The weather lately has been crazy.  I know it doesn't compare to my friends up north, but I am pretty tired of winter, and wish it away quickly.  This little guy (given the name "Olaf", of course) turned up on the hood of my car last week with the latest snow/ice/stuff that fell from the sky.

--Baby has been on a roll lately.  He makes me laugh like no other.  This happened while he was working on his latest rainbow loom creation:

Goliath:  How do you make that?
Baby:  You'll understand when you're older.

--Later on today (much later), the Child Life Specialist that works for my hospice company is coming over for her first meeting with my cowboys.  I've talked to her on the phone several times, and while I find her to be somewhat chatty, she's certainly pleasant enough.  I hope the boys think so.  I expect that their little guards will be WAY up, talking to a stranger about Mom's Sickness.  It's a meeting that I think is necessary, but I'm not looking forward to it too much.

This is a little snapshot of my sweet nephew Truett.  He's two months old now...isn't he great?!?

--Hubby's sister is on the countdown to her little one!  My new niece should be here sometime in the next 3ish weeks...Audrey has been texting me pics of the adorable clothes, shoes, and nursery that is waiting for that sweet baby girl.  The cuteness is almost more than I can handle.  So excited!!!

--While we're on the subject of being an Auntie...

Seester is having another girl!  Reese the Niece is going to be a big sister! 

--Buck and Grandmama, this picture is for you:

The cowboys opened their bank accounts, and they say "Thank You!"

--I think that Valentine's Day is a "holiday" that Hallmark made up to boost sales.  It's silly, if you really think about it.  We should be expressing our love for people each and every day!  Before you go off thinking that I am a big V-Day grinch, you should know that each night this week I am writing on paper hearts something I like about each of my boys and hanging them on their bedroom doors.  When they wake up in the mornings, they are eager to find their new heart and see what Mom really thinks of them!

--It's tough to make blogging interesting when I never go anywhere or do anything.

--Goliath attended his first Revo weekend (aka Disciple Now) a couple of weeks ago.  I have had a hard time with the idea that I am old enough to have a kid who is old enough for Revo!  DNow weekends were my favorite growing up!!!  Well, except for that one year when my foot was run over by the car I was riding in for the scavenger hunt.  That was a downer!  I have been so excited for my little boy--who isn't so little anymore.

--I am worn out from my groaning.
All night long I flood my bed with weeping 
and drench my couch with tears.
My eyes grow weak with sorrow;
they fail because of all my foes.
Away from me, all you who do evil,
for the Lord has heard my weeping. 
The Lord has heard my cry for mercy;
the Lord accepts my prayer. 
                                         Psalm 6:6-9

--I am going to try to go back to bed now.  Goodnight.  I'll see you tomorrow!

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Day I Told Them the Truth

Dear Cowboys,

I feel like although I desperately want to forget it ever happened, I need to commemorate in a small way the Day I Told You The Truth.  One minute, we were a regular family of five playing a board game.  The next minute, we were a group of broken-hearted people.  The game lay forgotten for hours, until I pulled myself together enough to clean it up.  I don't think we'll be pulling it out to play for quite a while.

There is really  no good way to break terrible  news to the people you love the most.  I struggled for days with what to say to you, and all I could really think was, "This is so unfair.  This is so unfair."  Every interaction with you became all the more precious, because I knew that you were walking around in a bubble, of sorts.  A bubble where your little world was intact and safe...a bubble that I was going to burst.

And burst it I did!  I'm so sorry, heart boys.  I'm so very sorry that we live in a world that is not fair.  I'm so sorry that after all this time and effort, I haven't been able to beat this thing.  I'm sorry that I can't stay with you.  I'm sorry that I couldn't protect you.

I will never forget your blank looks.  I was telling you the awful truth, but doing my best to avoid using scary words.  I don't know if you really did not understand, or if you just didn't want to know.  Whatever it was, I knew I had to be straightforward.  So I started saying things like "not much longer," "dying," and "not going to get well."  It felt like plunging into a freezing cold body of water.  I couldn't seem to get enough air, and there was no way to go back and undo the huge jump I had taken.

Oh, loves.  Your sweet faces were almost too much.  I wanted to reach out and touch you...hug you...comfort you, but there was no room for that.  The closer I moved to you, the farther you moved away from me.  It was almost as if my physical presence was too much for you  One of you moved to Daddy's lap.  One of you continued to stare at me, as if you didn't even know me.  One of you got up and simply walked out of the house.  I expected different reactions from each of you, as God made you so wonderfully different.  I was not prepared for such dramatic responses.

In a weird way, I was touched.  Your strong reactions definitely showed me that you love me.  The news I was delivering was not easy, and you demonstrated that you were hurting.  I a m crazy-thankful for the intense feelings you have for your mama, because they mean that I matter.  The Monster has had a way of making me feel inferior in the worst ways, but you three never fail to bring out my best.

I guess that's the key.  There is no doubt that I was created for this.  There are lots of other things I do, people I know, places I go, identities I have in this life.  But all of them pale in comparison to being your mom.  There is nothing else I want to do.  Being your mom makes me a better person.

We will make it through this, my sons.  I hate--HATE!!!--that you are suffering because of me.  Because of my sickness.  Not a single days goes by that I don't pray for physical healing so you can have the mom you deserve to have.  Not one night do I fall asleep before I've begged God to guard your hearts and pave your ways.  Not one.

As hard as it is to understand (I don't fully understand it myself), I want you to KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is good.  I do not believe that God caused my cancer, but he did allow it.  He is still good, and He loves you even more than I do.  Cling to that truth with all that you have, babies.  I am.

And let's hold on to one another.  Whatever time I have left to be with you, I want to be meaningful time.  I want to soak up every delicious minute of laughing with (and at) you.  I want to create beautiful memories for you, even if we have to hurry up and squeeze all of those memories into a short time period.  Let's do it.  Let's live big and love bigger.  I already love you all so much. 

With my whole heart,