The chemo choice is not about managing cancer, it is about managing fear. And that I know for sure.
And that is something I will use all my resources to help her with, because as long as there is life and no reason to believe it ends soon then that should be a life fully lived, not half lived. And a life half lived is a life in fear.
Or conflict. So no calls to my brother trying to persuade him to be less harsh with my mother. I’m not even sure he was “harsh” – maybe just blunt. And, of course, afraid on her behalf – of her making the wrong choice. But my mother made it sound, well, different … “I think he thought I was crazy” she said on the phone.
Well, that I hardly think my brother thought, much less said. But it just goes to show how vulnerable my mother is right now.
But fortunately, that is, as far as we know anything else, an emotional vulnerability. There is nothing more physical for the moment.
And that is what we must face. And deal with.
Management of fear, not cancer.
Although the two tend to be closely related.
But it is good to keep that in mind, what it is really about – when you try to help.
It is about that – and so it is about my mother’s peace of mind.
So no calls to my brother.
I go home again and snap some more pictures of little toddler Jay for my mom.
There are worse ways to cope with a potentially deadly illness in the family.
I have to accept it’s going to be back and forth emotionally from now on and I have to show that to others and remind them of that as well – especially my mother. Both experiences are okay and natural, but we have to – have to – continue to move between them. Never stop. Especially not in the valley.
One practical consequence of being called up and told your mother probably has cancer is to see things that seemed awfully important awhile ago … aren’t.
Also important to try to tear each others’ heads off, after lack of sleep …
But not so now.
I was already in a semi-crisis mode and perhaps that is the reason I feel strangely quiet inside now that the news is out that my mother may have cancer again … and not slipping further down the ladder, although that may yet come. But I feel quiet inside – so far. No panic. Just a great sadness and heaviness. I am so sorry too for my mother and my father, if that makes any sense … but I so deeply wish they could have and will have more happiness.
I don’t believe life is unjust as such, although it definitely is hard and people die and suffer and die some more. But I do believe and feel there is Light beyond and a meaning and coherence to all things, which we can feel part of now if we direct out attention towards it. That is my world view and it hasn’t changed.
But it will have to serve me well now, and I will have to put it into action, without hiding the truth. That, as it is for all people, this is a deep shadow. It may become even deeper.
We will have to be much light to journey through it and still come out whole.
I think I’ve written about this before: That the act of courage gives the feeling of courage. And courage is about facing fear.
Whereas if you obsess too much about what new distraction you can put into your mind, then it becomes a bit like you going on and on running away on the spot, but your feet whirling up some kind of breeze that fan the flames of fear behind you. You can’t see it but it feels hotter and hotter the more you run.
Lousy metaphor, but I guess it still works.
I had to realize that I could never really transcend all my problems either, but only work towards better and better integration – eventually transcending a few problems at a time over a long time.
Life is all about Integration of your fears, anxieties etc. Learning to keep them inside you, manage them, slowly reduce their importance, devise strategies to channel their constituent emotions differently.
When you want to keep down stress, keep the solutions simple. The definition of stress is doing too many things.
Apparently, as I mused yesterday, once I got out of the ‘fear zone’, ideas had free access.
Talk about self-fulfilling prophecies … !
It is banal but really true, isn’t it?
If you are afraid you can’t do something, you often … can’t do it. Like getting into that storytelling groove again and making something of it.
Perhaps I just had to find the courage to choose Something, not wait for the right choice to show up?
Yeah, that’s it. The courage mobilization vaporized enough of the fear. Then I could see more of what I really felt. And actually make a decision that – lo and behold – maybe close to what I need to do to feel Okay.
Strange. But worth remembering. Because Big Doubt will happen again.
But so will courage.
I do wish I could just run from it all, but I suppose that is the most natural feeling in the world.
But feeling peace starts with me doing something, no matter the approach I take to the act of creating peace.
And when did anyone ever feel more at peace by the act of running away?
I don’t believe I can get a guarantee that everything will ‘go well’.
But that’s not what I’m looking for.
I guess I’m looking for the feeling of energy and courage that I have sometimes gotten in difficult situations, and feeling that it came from somewhere … ‘beyond me’.
When I asked for it. Or just when I needed it.
That at least I can have faith in.
It’s like the breathing exercises my girlfriend has learnt to better manage the pain.
They can’t stop it, but they can make pain easier. If you open yourself to the possibility that it can happen.
That you can do it. That there is help.
Anything but curling up in a ball and pretending to be all alone when the sh… hits the fan.
Curling up, like a fetal position …
But while that version of the fetal position signals fear, there is also another version.
That of birth.
What you could do when feeling overwhelmed is to re-tell this personal story as if it was … a journey-story. It begins not with a first step, though – but with a map. Our hero(es) are set out to go – like the Fellowship of the Ring – into the big confusing world. They need a map and they need to take time to make that map. So do you. But they (you) also know that once they have a map – even if it’s just a simple one – the journey has already become a bit easier.
I thought about New Year’s Resolutions, but could only come up with one meaningful: To fight fear.