As I got into my friend’s car, I could feel the tears coming. We hadn’t even said a word yet, but I could feel it. It’s a new thing for me these days, not really knowing when I will cry. I think it’s because I feel loss right now. They say when you are fighting cancer you go through the stages of grief and I feel myself doing that.
My friend listened as I talked and cried on our way to my appointment. I kept saying “I don’t know why I’m crying.” At one point, she said “Does it really matter?” And I realized it really didn’t matter. I didn’t need to analyze it, I just needed to let it happen. We talked about my family and how complicated it feels having cancer this time. The first time, I wasn’t married, I wasn’t a mom. It was just me that I had to worry about each day. It is so different having cancer for the second time with a family. I really don’t know how to do this sometimes. How do I manage how I am feeling and coping? How do I share it with my husband and my kids?
That’s the thing I think I realized that day in my friend’s car as we were talking.
Maybe I don’t need to help them through it. Maybe I just need to let them walk beside me through it.
She asked me, “do your kids see your cry?” Good question, because I was shielding them from that. She reminded me of how difficult life can be sometimes and this is an opportunity for my kids to see what it looks like to walk through something hard. There are days that you need to cry. There will be days that they will need to cry in life.
As we arrived at the cancer clinic, I think the nurse I had was an angel assigned to me from God. She looked me in the eye when I sat down in the chair for my infusion, and she simply asked “how are you feeling today, Katie?” You can imagine what happened next. I was tired physically and emotionally. She listened and comforted me. At the end of my appointment she had some words of wisdom. She talked about walking beside many women battling cancer and some of her own struggles. She brought up going through hard things with your kids. And she asked “do your kids ever see you cry?” Whoa, I was getting the message that day. She said almost the exact same things my friend said on the way to my appointment. Okay, God I am listening.
I believe very often that’s how God works. He cares about the details of our lives and if we will listen, he will guide us and direct us through people he places in our path. I was so thankful that day for the parenting nugget I now had. And, it all started because I cried first. I was vulnerable and open to hear.
That’s the place I find myself in a lot these days. Vulnerable and open to hear, open to learn, open to see.
What matters most? What in front of me is truly important? Who in front of me is truly important? What are some of my hang ups?
One of my favorite verses in the Bible is found in the book of Psalms, written by King David.
Psalm 25:4-5 “Show me your ways, O Lord teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior and my hope is in you all day long.” God is personal with us and will teach us if we let him. That’s amazing to me. He cares enough to simply provide the wisdom I needed for that moment in that day. That was not an accident. My hope doesn’t have to be in myself or my circumstances. It can be in him…all day and every day.
I changed my approach with my kids after that day. Soon after, I let the tears fall in front of them. It was amazing to see them surround me, open up with me and encourage me in one conversation. I felt really proud of my kids, because they handled it just fine and I believe it made us closer through that open, real moment we shared about getting through cancer treatment together. Because that is what we are doing, getting through this together.
Being a parent is wonderful and complicated at the same time. I find myself having to pivot, learn and adjust a lot when I’m not fighting cancer. Now, that I am in the midst of the battle, my parenting has taken a new twist. It’s more about sharing time together, learning how to walk through hard times together, learning how to work more as a unit to get through the day. It’s allowing areas of our life to be developed and to grow. I see us becoming stronger. I’m seeing new qualities in my kids through this that I love and am so proud of.
It’s okay to cry.
Crying gets you where you need to be sometimes. Friends get you where you need to be sometimes. God keeps you where you need to be sometimes.