Never ignore a person who loves you, cares for you, and misses you. Because one day you might wake up from your sleep and realize that you lost the moon while counting the stars.~Unknown

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

And so, I rode.

Yesterday was one of those 'just let me cry' days as portrayed in one of my favorite songs by Hilary Weeks. After returning to the doctors office for my third shot and learning that I would have to receive two more, I gave in to the emotions that have been teasing me since my chemo treatment on Friday. Physically, this round of chemo brought no new surprises but emotionally, I have felt the weight of reality tugging me down. The effects of chemo are becoming more evident to me. Finishing one treatment means that the countdown until the next one begins and the sense of dread lingers. The 'unknowns' of cancer are manifesting themselves and I am no longer on the outskirts looking in. The images of those initial patients that startled me that first day of treatment look back at me in the mirror and I am realizing that for now, my body is sick and that the fight is real. I walked out of the hospital crying, not even noticing the sympathetic glances being sent my way. All I could think of was the these words of the song...'when I feel the heartache begin to take me under, I dig my heels in deep and I fight to keep my ground. But still at times the hurt inside grows stronger and there's nothing I can do but let it just let me cry, I know it's hard to see, but the pain I feel isn't going away today so just let me cry til all the tears have fallen. Don't ask when, and don't ask why. Just let me cry.' I was tired of 'digging my heels' so that others would not see my pain. I have held so much in for so many reasons and so many people and the dam broke. Finally...

I realized that I needed to cry. I needed to cry while the nurse gave me yet another shot that I knew would cause the aching in my bones to start again. I needed to cry as I walked to my car. I needed to cry as I sat at stop lights no matter who might be looking at me sitting there with my pale complexion and bald head. I just needed to cry. So I did..I cried the loud, hard tears that I had been avoiding and hiding from the love of others. And I didn't care if anyone saw me. I'm a mom and mom's are strong-even if it is only for their children, they are strong. And I am strong.
I just wasn't at that moment..

The blessing of the day was that it was a beautiful day...the sun was shining and the warmth of the air camoflagued the fact that it was indeed still winter. Wanting to feel the rays of sun while I had my cry, I opted to drive rather than go home. So, with my sun roof open, I drove. This fall, someone broke into my garage and stole both my bikes, one of which was very expensive. I have been thinking a lot about my bike and all the lessons I learned as I rode. In years past, I was pretty involved in biking. It was the catalyst by which I dealt with the anxiety associated with some of the trials i was facing and I loved it. One of my favorite places to ride is up in Morgan so I drove there and took the route with my car that I have in the past loved taking on my bike. So many memories with friends, with the blessings of solitude, and the tranquility of silence came to me as I drove. I remembered how my thighs ached as I struggled to conquer the hills and how I loved the breeze on my face on the way back down. Oh, the conversations I had with myself when I wanted to turn back or stop along the way and oh, the pride I felt when I mastered a hard ride! I so love that time in my life irrespective of the difficulties that were often the motivating factors behind many of the rides I took. Closer to home was the ride to Brigham City. Those memories are etched and defined in my mind as if they happened yesterday. I can still remember the night I first made the whole ride to Brigham. I could barely walk when I stepped of my bike but felt like I was walking on air. That was a huge deal for me. The hills had felt insurmountable the first few times I rode and the burn in my legs had more than once forced me to stop in the middle of the climb. Nonetheless, something inside kept me pushing. As I drove, I longed to once again feel the internal drive that had ultimately turned me into a good rider. 'One day' took turns with all the other emotions competing for my attention. As I turned for home, I was reminded of a scrapbook writing I had done years before about my expeirence with bike riding. Knowing it would remind me of the lessons I learned many years ago, I went to search for it once I got home. At the time I started riding, Chad was at a frightening place in his life where I literally had no control or access route to help him. The anxiety and fear this caused was unbearable. This is what I had written...entitled

'And so I rode'

Two thousand and three-my summer of discovery. From necessity and sheer determination was born a keener insight into life. I came to know who I was in ways I had yet to explore. My anxiety had peaked to dangerously high levels. Depression nipped at my heels and I seemed to barely stay one step ahead of its deadly consumption. I had become lost in the events that were rampaging through my life.

A simple purchase, made with great trepidation, would change my life drastically. I had never ridden a bike and was intimidated by the complication of so many gears, designed to allow my body to master the spin of the wheels. Initially, my insecurity forced my focus on teh hazards around me. As my confidence grew, my mind became free to explore the demons fueling my depression and anxiety. And so, I rode.

The harder the ride, the freer I was to think and process my emotions. Life became synonymous with the skills required to master the hills and conquer the distance of the ride. With every spin, I learned to overcome the fear of things that were out of my control. Letting go was easy when time was available to completely feel and examine the circumstances of their origin. Anxiety served as the fuel my body needed to successfully complete the ride. And so, I rode.

My legs became strong as I pushed my muscles to work harder and harder going up the hills. My endurance increased as the miles passed by. Strength was born from the determination to succeed. The breeze on my face invigorated me; the cool drink of water refreshed me; and the road invited me to keep moving forward. As my body became toned, my mind flowed in tune with the emotions I resisted facing. The more I rode, the more life made sense to me. And so, I rode.

I discovered that the power to overcome and moved forward is within each of us. We are given the strength we need when we endure and continue in hope. There is no need for perfection. Growth comes in its absence and in our quest to achieve it. Letting go opens our eyes and our hearts to the goodness surrounding us. When life becomes unbearabale, stop and rest - have a cold drink of water and begin again. Pacing oneslef provides the guarantee that you can and will complete the journey. Weakness serves the purpose of building strength. Perspective determines fairness . Peace can be found.

And so I rode.

Cyndi, Spring, 2003.

I've had to go in daily all week for the shots that stimulate the bones to produce the white blood cells destroyed by the chemo treatments. My last one is tomorrow. The shots are painful and the end result is aching in my bones that compete to throb the most in the most unexpected places. And it leaves me exhausted. My emotions have been on my sleeve this week. Tears come easy with little provocation and most of my emotional energy has been spent just 'remembering' what I know and what I believe about the purpose behind this journey. Last night, even though Amy was home, I allowed myself to have yet another good cry. Amy laid by with her arms around me. She always thinks she doesn't know what to do or say. She does and she did. That's what I love about her. She keeps things simple and in perspective. And my heart was quiet and my tears dried when she went to bed.

Throughout my house I have the word 'Remember' in carefully selected places. That's what I do during times like this (that I knew would come) when everything seems overwhelming and too much to bear. I remember what I know-even if at the moment, I don't feel it. I know what I know and it is the strength that I hold on to when my strength dissolves into fear an despair. I have been promised and I beleive that every prayer that I cry in the night is heard and answered with the utmost love and care. I have felt the arms of love around me as I have laid awake on sleepless nights wondering why I must do this alone, without a companion. I beleive that there is a greater purpose in this experience than I am able to see within the range of my human vision. I know that no matter how lonely a moment may capture me, I never cry alone-that a loving Father in heaven sits quietly by my side, counting my every tear. I beleive in the power of the sacrifice made by my Savior and hold fast to the knowledge that He knows; without explanation or words... He knows.

So..for now, I will simply...'remember' what I I rode.

Gratitude and love always...Cyndi


  1. Okay, first of need to write a book. You have a beautiful gift of explaining emotions and situations in a way that made me feel like I was with you on that bike ride.
    Second, you will ride that bike again (or, another bike I guess) and you will be even more grateful for that ride after this battle.

    Love you!

  2. I love you Aubrey...Thank you for all you are...Cyndi

  3. I hate this. Everything about it. I wish I could do it for you. Or at least make it better. I love you mom. You are one of the greatest blessings in my life.

  4. I hate it too Katie. Tonight I have thought back to when you kids were little and wondered how those little children are supposed to deal with their mother being sick. It seems too much to ask of such little people. When I think of you kids..,you are just that-my little people. And how you are now faced with questions that hold no answers and sadness too painful to express. It overwhelms me and it doesn't seem possible that we are going through this. I wish we didn't have to but you know as well as I do that there is a purpose in every trial we are called to face. I just hope and pray that each of our eyes will be open to see what that is..individually and collectively so that our family can become sanctified from the wedges life sometimes places between us. That is all I want and that is all I need. Looking backwards, that seems insurmountable because of the hurt that has run through the veins of our family. Looking forward, I 'remember' what I know and draw hope from that. I love you Katie and am so very proud of you. I am sorry that you have to go through this heartache with me but know that you have the strength to hold on. Mom

  5. really should write a book! You are poetic, insightful, humble, and in touch. I am supposed to bring a thought to our ward council of my feelings about the sacrament....for Sunday....I have copied and printed so many of your paragraphs that I have now been privileged to read since "bumping" in to you a few weeks ago. I think and pray for you daily. I am so "sorry" (which just sounds so trite) for all the physical and emotional pain you are heroically going through! God bless! Love you my friend. Lisa Spjut Carter xoxoxoxoo