I’ve always been fascinated by human behaviour. I love just watching people and watching how they react to things. Telling people mum has breast cancer has been an interesting exercise in observing human behaviour. I’ve had some interesting reactions to it; some people have met me with sympathy; some with silence, and some with questions. Some of the most helpful responses have been: She is strong and will get through this. Or, God will carry you all through this. Or, I’m/we’re with you, whatever you need, we’re walking this with you and are here when you need me (this has been very helpful and comforting). Something that is not so comforting to hear in this situation is: how long do they have. Not helpful people. NOT helpful!
I can honestly say that I’ve been blessed with the people God has placed in my life. My friends, my church family have all stepped in to stand with us on this and words can’t really express the gratitude I feel. There has been numerous hugs (hugs are good, I can do hugs as long as they are kept to 6 seconds or less, unless I cling to you, then you just have to go with it!), calls, messages, emails etc. To all those that have been checking in on me regularly with messages and coffee catch-ups and offers of brownies, I love you endlessly. These situations bring out the best in some people, but they unfortunately also bring out the true colours in others. And truth be told, some of the true colours have been disappointing. People are funny. Some people are quick to say they will be there but when the proverbial hits the fan, they are nowhere to be found. Some would say it’s not something to be worried about at the moment, and I’m not. But as someone who loves to analyse and observe, I can’t help it. I’m curious about humans and regardless of what is happening around me; I still observe what people do and how they react.
I’ve also observed my own behaviour and have noticed that this has hit me hard. When dad was diagnosed last year, it was a few weeks before I sat down and cried about it. Not because I don’t care or don’t love my dad but because I had mentally and emotionally prepared myself for it. Dad has been sick numerous times so I learnt to prepare myself. Mum is a different story all together. I am really emotional about this. Not because I think she won’t make it. On the contrary, I know that she will come out of this wonderfully and she will be able to use it to help others. I know my God and I know the amazing things my God can do, so I know that He will carry her through this and bring her out the other end. But I still can’t comprehend that she is actually going through it. I can’t wrap my head around the fact that my mum has cancer and that she has to go through this. She broke my heart on Wednesday because she received a letter telling her she needed to go into hospital the day before surgery for a check up/overview and she asked me if it meant she was going in for surgery early and I could see the uncertainty and nervousness in her eyes. She is confident and nervous at the same time and all I want to do is pack her bags and run away with her so she doesn’t have to go through this. I also want to pack my bags and run away because I don’t want to go through this, but that’s a story for another day.
I’m trying to use humour as much as I can to help mum through this. I did the same thing with dad – not sure how much it helped because he is the master of negativity sometimes – but it seems to help mum. She was having a moment a few days ago and was looking at her hair and asked me if she would lose it all. She said, “It’s so pretty”. My response to her was that if she lost her hair, she would finally get to go through her rebellious ‘hair’ stage (she was a goody two-shoes as a teenager) and we would buy her numerous wigs of all different colours, pink, purple, blue, white etc. Then we started imagining the different colours and styles she could have and the reaction people would have if she turned up with a white mullet. Imagining the reactions of certain people had us in giggles for a good while and managed to get her mind off it. It also helps her keep her mind of the pain she is experiencing. At this point, I’m willing to dress up as a giraffe and dance around the house if it helps cheer her up and get her mind off the whole thing.
If we had our way there is a lot of things we wouldn’t want to go through, but life doesn’t work that way and we just have to go with it. So no amount of denial and wishing will change this; we need to deal with it and trust that everything will be successful. But I feel helpless. I feel like there is nothing I can do to fix this (for those that haven’t worked it out, I am a bit of a control freak). And I want to fix this for her, I really do. But all I can do is trust that the Lord has this covered and that grace of God will get us through. This has been a really hard lesson for me in letting go and trusting, because I just want to take over. But as always, I lean into my faith and pray and wait on God. I am now, more than ever, grateful to my aunty Pam as she led me to Jesus years ago and without that, I really think I would be struggling more than I already am. In as much as I’m struggling to deal with this, each time I pray I just have a sense of peace settle over me like a hug. So while I’m emotionally struggling, I’m also confident that everything will work out. Again, I know my God and am confident that He has this covered.
This week mum goes in for her biopsy to see if the cancer has spread anywhere else. We’re praying that it hasn’t spread anywhere else and it will be a simple operation of removing the lump. But we will wait and see. I read a quote somewhere that said ‘don’t borrow trouble’ and it was in reference to imaging the worst and overthinking things. I’m going to keep reminding myself to ‘not borrow trouble’ and not think about what may or may not happen. I can’t control or predict the future, so I’m just going to try and leave it alone until it arrives. I can’t promise I will be successful at it but I will try.
Be blessed people,