Monday, October 1, 2012

Clouded by Hope

Have you ever experienced that veritable roller coaster of emotions? Most of us have in some form or another. For me, this roller coaster doesn't have a happy ending. Unfortunately I can't look forward to that familiar lighter-than-air feeling once the breaks come to a screeching halt and riders step out proclaiming victory. Nevertheless I'm stuck on this roller coaster. There's no turning back.

Grief is a complex process that I am constantly learning more about. It encompasses so many emotions which usually follow no set pattern. The emotions include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. I've experienced them all. Each day it seems like a new emotion has overtaken me.
Some examples include:

"Please just believe in healing and it will happen. God will heal you."
"Lord, if you would just heal Pete then we will give the rest of our lives to you no matter which direction you point us in."
"I'm so tired. I just can't do this anymore."
"It's okay to say goodbye. No one expects you to stay here and be in pain. It's okay to go."
"Why won't you talk to me! I just want to help you!"
"Well, I guess God doesn't plan to heal you. We just have to accept His plan."

....and the list goes on and on.

Well, a few weeks ago I was on a DENIAL kick, I was clouded by hope. I mean, it's good to have hope. Having hope definitely helps the situation, but a few weeks ago I experienced, first-hand, the downside of hope. While we were away on our mini-adventure in Oregon Pete started to feel worse than usual. Our trip was really low key and we ended up not completing most of the tasks we had originally planned to do and that was okay. We had planned to take it slow and not be too strict about sticking to a schedule. Over the course of our trip I began to ask Pete if he had any ideas about how we could work together to make our relationship better and grow closer. Through a series of tearful discussions he proclaimed that he was, "Just trying to survive," and didn't have energy for much else. I became ANGRY and DEPRESSED. How could he say those words? Was I not important enough to him? Didn't he have hope for the future? Hope of survival and of memories to come? I guess I didn't realize the there was an underlying issue that wasn't just the usual cancer.

Sometimes I feel that Pete's condition is deceiving. When people look at him, they don't see a sick person like I do. From the outside he looks good, mostly healthy, and he's even starting to put on weight. I guess, I too am still deceived by his appearance at times and was shocked when he mentioned the possibility of going to the ER. I didn't know he was THAT sick. So, off to the ER we went and our fears were confirmed when the Dr. told us that he had a build-up of fluid on his left lung which they would remove to help relieve his symptoms.

Upon diagnosis my thoughts immediately went back to my expectations of Pete just a few short days before and suddenly it became unfair of me to maintain them. I needed to re-evaluate my ideals and appreciate the time we do have together. Unfortunately that doesn't mean I'm not still angry we didn't have the opportunity to perfect our relationship while he was still healthy. It just means there's nothing we can do to change the situation at this point. Now is the time we need to find joy in the little things and cherish the good moments we have together. Although that's a tough pill to swallow, it's one I must force myself to.

Today was another roller coaster of emotions. It included another trip to the ER and confirmation that the fluid is starting to build up at a more rapid pace than it originally had. It's something we'll have to keep an eye on and he'll most likely be back at the ER within a week for fluid removal. But, we did share some sweet moments when we took the kids out for ice cream and made a stop at the library. These moments will be forever ingrained in my mind and for now, I'll cling to those and hope for similar opportunities tomorrow.

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