I married fairly young, but waited to have kids. I experienced life first. I finished college, traveled some, and had a decent career. All of those experiences paled in comparison to being a mom. Becoming a mom was the highlight of my life. I loved it. Even the sleepless nights and endless diaper changes.
My kids were young when I was diagnosed with cancer. My daughter was 5-months-old. My boys were three and four.
Those first few days, I could hardly look at them. It was too painful. With each glance, I thought about having to say goodbye. I thought about their cries for "mommy" and no mommy to answer. I thought about them being too young to even remember me, to remember how very much I love them.
That was followed by months of being unable to take care of them, of letting others tend to their needs and respond to their cries for comfort.
It was painful.
In a feeble attempt at emotional self-preservation, I detached myself.
But now there is hope. Hope that I won't have to say goodbye anytime soon. Hope that they won't grow up without a mom. Now I'm the one who takes care of them, who tends to their needs and responds to their cries for comfort.
Yet I find myself still disengaged, subconsciously looking for ways to avoid too much interaction, too much attachment. Like someone who has been betrayed and is afraid to trust again.
I'm still tired, and often very sick. The cumulative effects of the Herceptin are taking their toll. I don't have the physical strength to be the kind of mom I want to be. It's overwhelming physically. It's overwhelming emotionally.
The effects of cancer still linger. I knew there would be residual physical effects. Now I realize there are emotional ones too.
I have to walk now with the same faith that I did through cancer treatment. Part of me foolishly thought that after cancer, life would go back to the way it was before. But it won't. My life will never be the same. And that's good.
I need God just as much now as I did facing cancer. I'm just as desperate for Him. I still need His help, His grace, His mercy, His joy, His strength, every moment.
I trust that in time, God will heal my heart, and give me the courage to let go of the emotional pains, and to allow myself to become fully engaged.
As I walk by faith, in confident dependence on my God, I know that His grace is enough.
"And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." ~2 Corinthians 12:9