Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Intro to Healing

It was two years ago that Michael and I were put on the path known as the Brain Tumor Journey. We did not sign up for this journey. Who would? Yet it is what life brought to us, forcing us to change the direction we were forging at the time.

Life as a new couple was challenging for us. We met in April of 2006, and by January 2007 he had moved into my home. I have three kids, so falling in love, and choosing to share my life with someone, meant compromise. Yet the compromises weighed heavier on Michael than on me. He was the one that would leave his home to join mine, and he was the one that needed to begin a new relationship with three young people. Michael understood that a relationship with me would entail a sharing of my time, love and energy. And as any newly formed couple, we had our challenging times. And, as a newly formed couple, we had our dreams.

By October 2007 Michael and I had become much more solidified as a couple. We were confident that our love was strong, and that we would grow old together. This was no different than any other new couple. We had begun making future plans, one of which was to eventually find a new house that we could create into "our home." With his diagnosis, and a fatal prognosis, our future plans had to be changed. We realized that our prior dreams were not going to happen. This was a significant loss, and we both grieved considerably. During that time Michael questioned whether it was fair to put me and the children through this. He wanted to give me an out in case I needed it. But there was no question in my mind. I loved him, and knew that he loved me. During that initial period our bedroom was often flooded with tears. There were many nights that I sat awake, watching Michael sleep, and feeling overwhelmed with the need to take away his pain and worry. I knew that his fate, our fate, was not in my hands. At the same time, I could not rest unless I had looked under every stone for the next possible treatment. In time I learned that I needed to find a balance. I needed to accept that this new path was part of who we were as a couple, yet it couldn't completely define us. We needed to begin healing.

Begin healing.

Yes, I know that sounds strange. We knew that with time his health would likely decline, yet our hearts needed to heal. We needed to find joy in each day, and begin dreaming again. For us this meant living in the moment, and looking ahead only at the very distant future. Anything beyond that was out of our control. Getting to that point took time. It was often with a heavy heart that we made future plans. We learned that the only way to live with, and fight, cancer was to acknowledge it's presence. And it was often the case that simple joys needed to be appreciated with the bitter reality. There were many times that Michael would be getting ready for bed, then look across the room and say "I'm going to miss seeing your smile." There were times of intimacy where I would be filled with the joy of having Michael in my arms, yet my eyes would be filled with tears of anticipatory loss.

That was our journey. It was a journey of love, dreams realized, and loss.

Again, I find myself on a new path. This path, this part of my journey, was not of my choosing. Grief is it's name, and I must find a way to live with it. I must find my way to healing.


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