Sometimes, while so many thoughts are always swirling in my head, none of them are defined enough to come out yet. Other times I have a single topic that pops up to the top like a numbered lottery ball, and I am compelled to explore it in depth, with excessive word counts and grammar be damned. :)
Lately, there is a lot of swirling and no single winning lottery ball. However, I wanted to share this recent small moment and picture, and the ever-present grief they succinctly acknowledge.
Last week, Vanessa and I went to Subway for lunch. Her mind has seized on their current “deal of the day” subs, and she frequently requests to go to Subway, therefore, to get said deal-sub and cash in on the huge savings. ;) (I think poor Billy had Subway 3 times in 2 days, at one point!)
This particular Tuesday, V got the specific cheaper sandwich of the day- the meatball sub. Here is how she decked it out: flat bread; pepper jack cheese, shredded cheese AND parmesan cheese; spinach; bacon; chipotle sauce. Her drink: a mix of Dr. Pepper and Blue Berry Powerade in a 1:1 ratio.
As you can see, she tends to go for things with spiciness or a distinct flavor, even if the flavors don’t necessarily go together! I can only assume her disease progress has done some crazy things to her taste buds. :P She greatly enjoyed her lunch and I took this photo to document her creation:
But all I could think when I saw the pic was: I don’t recognize her hands, anymore. My brain says: Those aren’t hers!
Except, of course, they are.
The grief of what is happening to Vanessa, to us, does hit me sometimes like a tidal wave of overwhelming sadness that prohibits any other feelings. But the majority of the time, it’s just a constant tiny grief bombardment of small things, which sneak up on me with somewhat subdued force. Like noticing her hands that are not her own, but cancer’s.
It’s a tiny peppering of losses, minute pin-pricks of pain, and I can get through them in the moment without too much effort. Later when I put all the kept-confined-in-the-moment things together, and look at the amassed, massive collection of pain and loss and sorrow, in total… then, I can do nothing but roll into a big disbelieving ball, sobbing all night long, unable to even fathom the depths that this pain will plumb still yet.
And then, the next morning, I make myself get up, make my bed, wash my puffy cried-out face, and prepare for another day. Knowing full well there will be more pin pricks today, more loss, more struggles. Because, while I realize this grief will change and ebb and flow, I also know that it’s here to stay. Grief is part of my journey, an integral thread woven through my life, something I will explore and feel every single day my own life continues.
So I invite grief along, and honor it as part of my truth. I simultaneously keep my eyes and thoughts and heart open, in order to hopefully recognize when it’s the right time to let the grief recede back a bit, to allow another emotion to swell up and be respected as a vital part of my story, too.
For me, this is part of what I pledged, to live sincerely:
Courageously, I will respect each movement of my heart,
through fear and joy, grief and peace.