Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Aftermath of the Storm

(Please note: I am posting two blog posts back to back. Please see both.)

CJ is officially port free, chemotherapy free and cancer free!! Praise God!

I have not officially blogged about it because I have not been able to adequately describe the feelings that have followed the port removal and I certainly did not want to come across as anything but grateful. We are extremely grateful!

It has almost been three years since CJ was diagnosed with cancer. Three years! That is a long time! He was 9 years old. Now he is 12. He was a boy. Now he is a young man. This has consumed a large part of our lives. A surgery, a song, and a see-ya-later just felt so......odd. And if it is over....why does it all still feel so....incomplete?

Early on I wrote a blog comparing our experience to the phases of a hurricane. I realized this week that the description still fits. In the beginning all we could do was brace ourselves for the storm and hope for the best. There was no evacuation route. We did not know how much damage or loss we were going to suffer. Fear and anxiety defined that phase.

Before long we were in the “eye of the storm”. It was an eerie calm we experienced about half way through. It felt like a false sense of security considering the backside of any storm is typically stronger than the front. It provided a time of much needed rest but it was also the time frame that our eyes began to open to all the suffering surrounding us besides our own. Uneasiness and deep sense of sadness defined that phase.

Now the storm is over. It’s time to step outside and access the damage. The “aftermath of the storm”. How do I describe these feelings? Does it depend on how much damage was incurred? Does it depend on how long the storm lasted? Does it depends on how much was sacrificed along the way? I am not quite sure yet what feelings define this phase. Relief? Yes! Regrets? Some. Responsibility?...or is that a hint of guilt? Gratitude? For sure! Determination?Definitely!

The storm has brewed up a cocktail of emotions. The damage could be much worse but it could be better. Does that balance matter. There is always worse. What is more important to come out intact? Our bodies? Our hearts? Our Faith? Can I have all three or is that asking too much?

CJ's body and our lives may be moving farther away from the battle but my heart is still deeply entrenched there. Do I even want it back?

CJ grows stronger...poppa Enzo wastes away. So much irony. Should we celebrate life or prepare for death? Do both? How? Tell me how.

How do I access the damage? So far this is all I have........

"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed."

(2 Cor 4:8)


Nan Jones said...

You never cease to amaze me. The honesty of your faith is something that I believe truly honors the Lord. Your unashamed questions of why, your mother's heart overflowing into the lives of others...You are an incredible woman. Thank you for sharing with us.

Are you familiar with Kate McRae? She is another child I have prayed for, for a long time. My heart is broken for her mom. She is in the wall cloud of the hurricane right now. I think you could help her.

You asked, "How do I choose? Do I celebrate life or do I mourn imminent death?" I am not faced with such a decision, but the thought occurred to me that the answer is not in the physical, but in the eternal. The answer is in acknowledging the Presence of God, His faithfulness in all things, His love that never ceases. And let the emotions be what they may be at any given moment. Jesus anticipated the joy of His resurrection, but He mourned the ensuing suffering and death. Perhaps His emotions were like the ebb & flow of a salty tide too.

I will continue to pray for you and your family. God has been glorified through your suffering. You have been a witness of His faithfulness and mercy.

Sweet blessings to you,
Nan Jones

Anonymous said...

Maybe one day I will be able to read your posts without a box of kleenex! :) You speak so beautifully from the heart and I share your sentiment of the limbo that comes with completing treatment. So glad you could go and be renewed in God's love. Thanks to CBC for our cruise! God is in control. Thanks for writing and sharing, Dawn. It truly is one of your God given gifts. :)

Sarah Atkinson said...

So beautifully said, we are right there with you in the aftermath, a whole "new normal" in it's own.

Anonymous said...

You are a good writer, Dawn.
Mardy Freeman

Anonymous said...

Thank God!!! Totally Amazing....and so are you ...

Anonymous said...

You have walked a hard walk my friend, and praise God that CJ has found favor from the Lord. Not many have been given the task that you have had, CJ has been brave, and you and Chris have been there for him every step of the way, the emotions that you have had only make you stronger, and the pain that you have been through gives you compassion for others. May the Lord give you rest and peace and make you strong to endure the future. Sometimes words that are written never really express what we want to say...I know you did not ask for this task, and I will never know all the heartache, pain and fear that you have been through, but I know the Lord does and He captures every tear... I am so grateful to the Lord that CJ is free of this horrible disease...God Bless Loida

Anonymous said...

I am so happy for you and your family. I keep you all in my prayers. I know what you have gone thru, My son lost his battle to cancer 19 months ago and I am a survivor so I know what it is all about. Best to all of you and Your son will be a surviver too. Keep us up to what is going on in your lives. Thyra Graf

Anonymous said...

That is wonderful news about CJ; I am so happy for all of you and I will continue to pray for all of you.

Janet Abraham

Anonymous said...

Hi Dawn, thank you for sharing your thoughts. I can only try to understand how challenging this moments must be for you. You are certainly a women of courage. May God continue to guide your heart, mind and soul. May you continue to live such a giving life. Wilma