I have a PET scan tomorrow. Although you would think I’d be used to these by now, I still am not completely there yet I guess. My usual means of dealing with the feelings that come along with these types of tests are to withdraw a bit for the few days leading up to them. Ok, withdraw a lot. From friends, from family, from God. I know it sounds weird but I guess I figure if I can grit my teeth and just get through it then I can deal with whatever comes of it. Lately my scans have been good. Great, actually.
But today I feel overwhelmed with the fragility of this state. The thought that this could all be taken away from me so quickly is weighing me down. Anything bad showing up on this scan could mean the end. Living with this knowledge is a huge weight on my life that changes how I view everything else. It’s not just hard to live this way, it’s torture sometimes.
I went to a funeral this morning. My brother-in-law’s mom passed away from cancer and she was a huge inspiration to me throughout her cancer journey. Every time I saw her, she was upbeat but realistic. She had assurance in Christ and had a light that shone through her for Jesus. I always looked up to her and how she was dealing with everything. But that came with consequences too as I found myself wondering when I had these little break downs if Judy ever did that. I figured she probably didn’t; she was so strong and so sure of her faith. Maybe I didn’t have enough faith.
The last time I saw Judy was a few weeks ago when I was taking a meal to their house. Luckily, the kids were sick this time. I realize it sounds odd to say “luckily” when talking about sick kids, but it wasn’t anything serious and I just didn’t want them around her in case they were contagious. Where our previous visit had consisted of the kids being silly and Judy being so sweet and making them laugh, this time I was able to talk to her one on one. She kept repeating a few things that didn’t seem quite so heavy at the time but as I sat in her funeral they were all I could think about.
As I visited her that last time, she held my hand tight. I tried to make small talk but soon realized that she and I were both thinking the same thing, that we could understand each other. She began to cry and kept saying, “Oh, this cancer.” and “but I know where I’m going!” Smiling through our tears, I felt like she was trying to comfort me. And I realized then that it’s not being “strong” when we don’t cry or don’t get upset, that may actually be denial. True strength and bravery means always putting others before yourself. I finally get that. There is no doubt in my mind that she was hurting and sad. I get that and I understand that on a very deep level. There is a very real sense of grief when you know you’re dying. You mourn for what you’ll be missing out on.
Judy’s service was beautiful and honored the wonderful person that she was and gave the rest of us hope through her love for Jesus shining through in every part of the funeral. But I came home with a huge chip on my shoulder. I wasn’t sure why but everything just seemed wrong and off and I was getting quite aggitated. I sent my poor mom off with a less than warm goodbye and as I walked back to the kitchen, a song came on my Pandora station. It was Britt Nicole’s Safe. Tears began to stream down my face uncontrollably.
You keep tryin to get inside my head / While I keep tryin to lose the words you said / Can’t you see I’m hanging by a thread? / To my life, what I know, yeah I’m losing control / Oh no, my walls are gonna break…
Just at that moment as I began to break down, I heard my 4 year old son crying downstairs. I didn’t want him to see me this way so I tried to wipe my face as best I could, knowing that I still had long black tear stains on my cheeks but I needed to get to him. I found him balled up on the couch crying. I sat next to him and and tried to pull him close. But he resisted and tried to get away from me. I firmly held his head in my hands and looked him right in the eyes and gently wiped his tears with my thumbs. He relented and fell into my lap with his arms flung around my legs and he just laid there and sobbed for a few minutes. He looked up at me and told me the cat had bit him (nothing serious) and he put his arms around my neck and just let me hold him for a few minutes.
Tears began flowing again as I realized that I was denying God this opportunity to comfort me. I was pushing away when what I needed to be doing was just letting Him work on me and comfort my hurting heart.
With no answers and no insight I’m just choosing to curl up in my Heavenly Father’s lap and let Him wipe away the tears. There are certainly no shortage of them today.