“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do” – Eleanor Roosevelt
It’s been a little while since I’ve opened up about how I’m doing. The truth is, I’m not really sure what the answer is. It’s been just over a year since we got the news that my dad has cancer. In a year I can honestly say that I’ve felt every emotion possible as it relates to cancer. Most of those are deep sadness, confusion, despair and a big old fuck you. We’ve also gone through really happy moments, small pieces of good news and a whole lot of hope and faith.
We spent the past year making some really amazing memories, spending time soaking in each other’s company and trying to navigate the uncharted waters we’re facing.
The thing about cancer that you might not realize is that every single day is different. In the span of the week we can go from thinking we only have a short amount of time left, to feeling like maybe things are turning a corner for the best. It’s volatile and unpredictable. Every single thing that my dad does affects how he feels and it could have a positive or negative impact on his afternoon, day or even week. The emotions are just as unsettling for us too. I find myself feeling overcome with gratitude for the time we’ve had, while simultaneously weeping and thinking about the doom that is inevitably ahead for us.
As it is with anything tragic, we have to go on with life, we have to go to work and put on a smile for our innocent, unsuspecting toddler. We have to socialize and share the updates on “how he is doing” to our co-workers, friends and family over and over. I’ve had more than one person say, “wow, you seem like you’re handling things well.”
Who, me? Really? I’m a freaking mess. I guess I’ve just gotten really good at being two different versions of Martha. One is pulled together, happy, seemingly in-denial Martha who avoids the situation by cooking, watching movies with my little and running my side business. I love having an outlet where I can escape for a little while. The other version is trying to find the courage to share blogs like this, constantly anxious over the next call or text and most of all, terrified of what’s coming.
I’m listening to a new audiobook right now – ‘You Are a Badass” by Jen Sincero. I’m about halfway through and really love it so far. I’ve never been a self-help book type, but given what’s going on in my brain, I figured I could use some outside wisdom. It’s definitely more about self-love and realizing your worth than coping with cancer… but I do find myself piecing tidbits together that make sense for my situation. I could quote pretty much the whole damn book and it feels relevant but this one was particularly powerful:
She’s right, right? I’m trying to remind myself how important self-love is, along with sending love out into the universe too.
My motivation for posting this today is this: if you’re feeling something, share it. If you love someone’s artwork or the photos they take, tell them. If you’ve been kicking yourself about something you said to your best friend, apologize. And lastly, as the great James Taylor sings “Shower the People You Love with Love”. You don’t know how long you have, and time will surprise you again and again. Share your love, your happiness and your struggles because I can almost guarantee someone out there is going through something relatable.
Till next time, xo