Why is that so hard? It seems to me that we spend a lot of time in our lives living in denial. Or, maybe it only seems that way. I, like many, have put my head in the sand, ignored someone or a situation, and pretended they or it would go away. Then, with sand in my mouth and burning my eyes, I would look around and the problem would still be there. It hadn't moved at all. I was accused of that several times during Tom's illness. It wasn't true. I knew only too well the reality of the disease and I had a front row seat in observing what it was doing to him. Pride stood in the way of letting others see too much. Possibly, those who accused had denial mixed up with hope. He and I always hoped for a better tomorrow, knowing that when the best tomorrow came we would no longer be together on this earth. Hope is one of God's gifts, though the awarding of it comes in a variety of ways. Hope sustained during the difficult days of watching Tom decline, during the days when I was the only one saying anything. I never knew if he heard me reading the Scripture, praying with him or singing favorite hymns and children's Sunday School songs. Yet, I hoped.
Today, I hope for friends who are facing illness and loss of loved ones and I wonder: which is more painful, reality or denial? It's difficult for the strongest person, even the strongest Christian, to face the reality of finality. As bright as hope looms, there is always sadness trying to push itself to the forefront. We find ourselves trying to hang on for just one more day. My heart aches for those who face difficult times and for those who are trying to heal from loss. Daily, I face the reality of life without my partner, my soulmate, the one who loved me so completely and who helped me become the person I am today. It isn't easy. Now, I hope for the day that Tom and I will be reunited, when I will know the reality of what he now knows.
While I was never in denial about Tom's illness, I have had to face the fact that I may have let some of that creep into what I know about my own health. My visit with the doctor yesterday was not discouraging, but it was not encouraging either. I am still being kept from the drug that seems to have worked the best in keeping cancer activity at its lowest because of possible serious damage to my kidneys. I was told that another problem I have could be the result of the medications or the disease itself. The denial has come in my putting off some things that need to be done. I never want my children to go through the nighmare they went through a few years back when information that would have helped them was held back. I want them to be informed. Also, being the control freak that I am, I want to be in charge of my life and my passing. Away with denial! I owe my family the gift of planning and organization. Everything needs to be decent and in order, just the way Tom would have things if he was the one to remain.
As I drove home in a driving rain yesterday, I thought about many things and made some determinations.
- I will not deny the reality of this dumb cancer.
- It will not control me, nor my lifestyle.
- It is what it is and I recommit myself to live with it.
- I will not deny the realities of things I cannot change.
- I will allow God to be in charge.
- I will enjoy today and hope for tomorrow!