It’s been a full two months since I've written a single word for this blog. In December, it was intentional. January, not so much.
December. Oh, December. The month I loved for 25 years just isn't quite the same anymore. Not only are we without my mom at the holidays, but we also relive the beginning of the nightmare that ended so badly. I remember when she started getting sick. When she had that first doctor’s appointment. When she stopped eating. When the pain was so great she stopped going to work. When she skipped our Christmas Eve tradition of church and dinner. When she was yellow and jaundiced in Christmas photos.
And then after Christmas, I remember when they went back to the doctor for results. When they came home, how their words said “it’ll be fine” but their faces said otherwise. When the doctor called 45 minutes later and said to go to the hospital immediately. When they took blood, ran tests, placed stents. When they told us that lymphoma was no longer something we should be worried about, but rather the disease we should be praying this was.
And finally, on December 31, 2009, the last day of the year, when they told us it was everything we’d been praying it wouldn't be.
When I slide into January now, it’s with conflicted thoughts. I feel hopeful at the start of a new year, but the memories continue. January 2010 found our family struggling to adjust; January 2011 left us devastated by a major setback. January 2012 found me mopey and confined to my bed at every allowable moment. This January left me distracted by a health issue.
As I prepare myself for the tests that lay ahead – and the impact their results may have on my life – I’m struggling to feel hopeful. The truth is: My propensity to hope died a little on April 19, 2011 when my mom was in hospice. When she could no longer get out of bed. When I felt the warmth leaving her fingers and toes. When the day became April 20. When my mom left this earth. My unwavering optimism throughout her illness resulted in feelings of disillusion when she died. I’d been hopeful, so how could this have gone so wrong?
How do you strike the right balance between hope and realism? Optimism and pessimism? If I’d accepted the fact that we were fighting a losing battle, would it have hurt less to let her go? If I stay optimistic throughout the upcoming weeks, am I more likely to get the results I’m praying for?