I’m writing this for me. I’m not even sure I want to post it. Because I’m not looking for pity. I’m not sure I’m even looking for prayers or support. I just need to write it.
Important side note: I had Chinese food last night and my fortune said something about always being surrounded by many friends. Yes. And that is a huge blessing. As is my family.
But I’m in a funk for sure. It’s circumstantial. Everything is a mess. We still don’t have floors. We’re losing the fight with insurance so far. We’re struggling with money. One of our “other boys” has all but moved in with us and is struggling himself. And my number went up noticeably (albeit not significantly) from 23 to 28. So it’s a bump – is it the beginning of an increase or just a one time blip? Who knows. It’s hard not to assume the worst given our situation of late. And is the stress making my cancer spark to life or is it the other way around? It’s been a hard year with the move and losing another close friend to this disease so all that has an impact I know.
And let’s talk about Christmas for a moment. I had a pretty sobering aha moment this holiday season – call it white privilege or just a new perspective… We all say, it’s not about the gifts, it’s about time with people you love, it’s about celebrating the birth of the Christ Child. But when you don’t have the means to provide gifts, you quickly realize it IS about that too. We ask each other about what gifts we received or gave, not about how much quality time we spent with our loved ones. It’s just a whole lot easier to say that it’s not about the gifts when you actually DO have them. Imagine not giving a gift to your wife or husband at all this year, or your kids. Thankfully we were able to give our kids a little money (canceled a trip so we could do that) but we had no gifts for each other, no stockings bulging at the seams, no gifts to unwrap or bags to shake under the tree. We really didn’t even have a tree, just this pitiful Charlie Brown-esque tree on a table. We didn’t decorate because we weren’t really feeling the season and because we’re still not really moved in because of the floors. And it all did make me pause and think about how blessed I’ve been my whole life. I never thought I couldn’t get what I needed or wanted, or provide for my family, or fill stockings and buy gifts.
So as I watched all the ads for the things we should buy our wives and husbands and kids and friends, I found a deep compassion for the mother who can’t buy her kids the latest toys or electronics. And I can’t help but think about how many people in this city, state, country, and world can’t buy gifts for their loved ones every year. Not to mention the homeless and destitute who can’t even provide the basics. So yeah I’m grateful we don’t have to live under a bridge. And I’m grateful that we have all these things that we need and want.
And yet, I’m sad I couldn’t do things this year. I have such an amazing wife and love of 22 years. She has had the burden of caring for me and seeing me through this shitty ride with cancer for the last fiveandadamnhalfyears. And still I can’t buy her those air pods or those shoes this year. And it was just weird and sad to not create a special even small Christmas for our boys. Or do some little things for the rest of our family and special friends. Of course everyone understands but it’s still painful and hard and really made for a difficult season for me.
Mostly I’m just tired. Physically and emotionally. Everyone keeps saying it’s going to get better. And I sure hope that’s true. But it seems like every time we take some steps forward, we get smacked back down by some other setback.
And here’s what I’m tired of hearing. And I mean no offense to anyone. I am fully aware it’s hard to know what to say. But I also think it’s important to think about the words we use when someone has hit a rough spot.
- “Well it could be worse”. Of course it could. It could also be a whole lot better.
- “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle”. Really though? Even if that is true, just don’t.
- “I know it’s a lot, but…”. When you say something then include a “but”, you’ve basically negated or minimized what you just said and it feels like minimizing my feelings.
- “You have to keep that positive attitude”. Yeah I’m trying. You have no idea how very exhausting that can be.
Try this on instead:
- “I’m sorry. I know this sucks”. Really sometimes I just need you to acknowledge my pain in the moment. Don’t try to fix me. Just hear me.
- “What can I do”? My family and friends are great at this one and it is perfect. And we’ve been better about asking for help when we need it.
- “When you can’t believe it’s going to get better, I’ll believe it for you”. This one is really good. Many of you say this to me on the regular in some form or other. And it does help.
- “I’m here. You can laugh, cry, scream or just be. I’ve got you”. We also have a lot of this in our lives.
I do realize how blessed I am. I’m still here, living my life, beating the odds. And I am grateful for the massive amount of love and support. AND (not “but”), this all still sucks and drags me down. I just want things to be easy again, or at least easier. Maybe if it had never been easy, this wouldn’t be so hard. Whatever the reason, I am ready for all my good to come my way. Like soon.