Let's talk about trauma.
I feel that I can't go forward with posting my thoughts about this journey I'm on without addressing trauma. From the moment the word cancer entered the conversation around Alex's health, it has taken up most of the room. It was just one month ago that Alex came to Daniel and I and said he was getting an ultrasound on the lumps in his armpit to rule out the possibility of cancer. "Good." we said. "It's best to rule it out."
We have to acknowledge that cancer is trauma inducing. I don't think there's a person I know that doesn't either know someone fighting cancer, love someone fighting cancer, has survived it themselves or lost someone to this disease. It's a terrible, horrible thing, and most of us have been touched by it in some way, shape or form. For myself, the very first time I encountered cancer up close was when my dearest friends mom was diagnosed back in 1991. Her death ripped apart worlds and shattered every sense of normalcy. I was young and not at all tempered by the hard things of this life and I'm pretty sure I was next to useless to my sweet friends in their gut wrenching grief. (We are however still friends today, so I think they have forgiven my bumbling inadequacy).
The second time was in 2014 sitting next to my mom at MCR 4 days after she had a tumor removed from her brain and hearing that the biopsy had revealed cancer. 6 months to live they said. My mother, with all the calmness in the world, politely thanked the hospital staff for all their excellent care, asked me to purchase See's chocolates for all of her nurses and resolutely declined chemotherapy. She would not fight it. 6 weeks later I would find myself holding her hand as she took her last breath. She had resolved to go home to God and she so she did.
Walking with my mother down that road taught me many things. But maybe the most poignant was her lack of fear around death. She stepped almost seamlessly from this life into eternity leaving letters for all those she loved and detailed instructions for her handful of belonging. But of course, she was an unusually strong soul from the start, so it didn't surprise me, but her courage gave me courage. Do I need to acknowledge that cancer can end in death? Yes. To not do so would be foolish. Do I stand at the edge of the Valley of the Shadow and desperately ask God to please, please not ask me to walk down into that valley again? Yes. I ask. I am asking. Honestly, I don't want to think about it. But I have to. I have to look the trauma of my past encounters with cancer in the face, and I have to leave the outcome of this current situation with God. It's a very rubber meets the road moment. I either actually believe that Jesus has conquered death, that it has no victory, that there is no evil to fear in it's shadow or I don't. It's pretty much that simple and simultaneously it's not. Because who among us can walk without knees trembling into that dark shadow? No one. Only Jesus. So here's my deep theology moment for today. The only way forward for me is to tuck my heart and soul into the arms of Jesus and rely on him to carry me through. Today. Tomorrow. Friday and every subsequent day. Help me Lord.