It's been a bit since I wrote. Not sure why, just haven't been able to formulate the words I have wanted to write. I continue to be blessed in ways that seem unimaginable and the, the love and support continues to flow. This is a humbling time in many ways and on occasion, self doubt creeps in and stifles my thoughts. Even with that said, my heart always remains full and aware of how truly blessed I am.
Last week my sisters and Angie took me to a support group in Salt Lake. It was 2 days before my next chemo treatment and the emotions associated with it were still just playfully nipping at my heels and I hated the thought of them getting any further than that. Truthfully, I dreaded it all day long..feeling it tugging at the comfort of my denial. We arrived at the meeting house and sat in the car for a good 20 minutes as I tried to talk myself out of going in. The conversation in my head was maddening...therapist to Cyndi, each trying to win their case. Mine protected the denial I have wrapped myself in, the therapist arguing my need to accept and embrace the reality of my cancer. Interestingly, I don't have a problem accepting the treatments and side effects. It's the whole cancer thing that I am resistant to. I fought tears the whole group. Part of me wanted to let the flood gates burst and let others experience the magnitude of emotions I typically experience alone. I knew that every person in the group would understand and that I would feel comfort and support from strangers whose hearts were opening for one another. The other part of me wanted to hold on to the composure that I believed kept me separate from everyone there. Truth is, I couldn't do it. I couldn't become "one of them." I simply couldn't do it. I saw connecting to these people as inviting a sadness into my life that I just don't feel strong enough to do. At least right now. As I sat there, I thought of some of the support groups I had facilitated and truly, felt a bit like a hypocrite and wondered what the participants in those groups would have thought of me as I sat there so unable (or unwilling) to open up. Nonetheless,, I told my story as simply as I could and remained a silent witness to the tragedy that unfolded in the stories of each individual there. I've always been private. I have always preferred being alone when the flood gates burst. At least that is what tell myself...
My sisters and Angie were braver than I was and from what they were able to share with me, their tears flowed freely. As I write this I am aware of the contradiction but I am glad they cried. I am glad they opened their hearts and let their pain flow through their tears. I hope that as a result, some of their fear and their heartache became more manageable. And because as a therapist I know that heartache and pain become magnified when they are contained too securely. They take on a life of their own and come out sideways and can taint every area of life. I don't want that for anyone who loves me, particularly my family and especially, my children.
There is a cleansing and a sanctification that occurs when we allow ourselves to experience the sadness and heartaches in our lives. Sometimes, the fear of the magnitude of the pain feels overwhelming and we give in to the misnomer that if we allow it voice that it will consume us. I know of that fear and have cried until I felt I could not breathe. I have also been guilty of holding it inside and hiding behind a paper smile. Irrespective, the greatest knowledge that I have gained is that I am never alone in those experiences. I know that every person who reads this can identify with those feelings and experiences. Hurting is part of loving and the experience of mortality. What I also know is that in those moments, whether we are private or public in our expression, that we are never alone. Be it with the brightness of the sun breathing life back into our hearts or in the darkness of the night, we are never alone nor are we ever, ever, left comfortless. It is in the despair of our deepest anguish that the arms of a loving Savior reach out and wrap us in the blessings of the atonement. And it is only in His arms do we truly come to know Him in the personal and sacred way that changes our hearts and moves us closer to becoming more as He is. For that reason, I have come to call the challenges and heartaches of life my "hard blessings." And so for that reason..I am grateful for this opportunity for my family to shed their tears and allow their fears and uncertainties to flow down their cheeks.
Gratitude and love always...Cyndi