I woke up this morning and was crying within the first half hour of my day. Wait. It’s okay. The tears weren’t because of the cancer. Not directly. They were prompted by a response to something I had written. It’s scary putting my words out there. They are personal, a part of me. This is especially true right now. This reader’s response was a wave of fresh water over me. She connected. My words, chosen on purpose had resonated with her. What a gift.
The above is a quick entry I made recently in one of my writer’s notebooks. I wanted to remember my reaction and thoughts connected to a moment that encouraged me and told me to keep on processing my thoughts through writing. It has been a bit scary to put my words out there for friends and strangers to read. There is the risk that I will be misunderstood. That is an unpleasant thought. There is the risk that I will be mocked, and that would hurt. That old “sticks and stones” stuff is false! But, for me I have chosen to be brave. For me, it is brave to risk the exposure. Sharing my thoughts through written word has affirmed some truths that I have known, but forgotten. Writing for public viewing has been a choice that involves courage, bravery. That is true for this writer.
In the early days of my diagnosis, I bought my girls and myself bracelets that say, “Always Brave”. They have a blue cord on them representing colon cancer. In these five weeks since my “plot twist” I have been told by many that I am strong. I will take your word for it. Last week in talking with a wise friend, the topics of strength and bravery came up. She reminded me of the difference between the two. I have to admit that I wish our bracelets said “Remaining Strong” or something like that, because I don’t always feel brave. I don’t always feel like exposing my emotions. I don’t always feel like facing the unknowns ahead of me. I don’t always feel like sharing my news with those whose hearts are so dear to me. I don’t always feel like being brave. But, I guess there is strength in pressing on and sharing my tears when they flow, taking the next step into the unknown, sharing what is hard and will hurt tender hearts. With strength, I will try to be brave.
I am not writing this to gain sympathy or rally a cheering squad! You all have been wonderful in your support and encouragement. I am writing to sort through my moments and to express some of what comes out of that sorting. I want you to know that I am doing okay. I really am.
We, like many families, have little motto’s and phrases attached to memories. “We are the Gratopps, the mighty, mighty Gratopps” is one such phrase. If I were to tell you the origin it would sound so ridiculous, but we did rewrite the chant from Remember the Titans and it pops up every once in a while. 🙂 Tear jerker sports movies are top of the list for my youngest child. Before she returned back to college after being home taking care of her mom, we talked about our “Always Brave” bracelets. She is strong like my other children, but I reminded her of the bravery it takes to let others help. There is bravery in showing our hearts to others. We need to be wise in those moments, but there is a bravery in releasing our pain, our worries, our stuff that is just hard! Some times the “mighty Gratopps” need to brave by sharing our pain.
There was a great release of tears last week. I think it came from a long period of not being able to emote much of anything. It simply wasn’t comfortable to laugh or cry for awhile after surgery. Quite frankly, it hurt. When the emotions did come, there was release. I am thankful for the return to words for me and the release that allows. I am thankful for the response of the reader that brought soothing tears. I am thankful for shared tears and new mercies with renewed strength each day. I am thankful that when I don’t always feel brave, there is a strength to move forward. There is the strength of others to help with that. There is strength to be brave.
Because you are reading, I believe you care. Thank you! To give an update, at this time I am physically doing well with my recovery from surgery. We are in a waiting period as my body regains strength. We meet with the oncologist next week to discuss the course of treatment. Waiting is hard, but it is also a reminder that there isn’t a need to move to panic mode. I am reminded daily of many things to be thankful for as I wait.
As a family, we continue to appreciate the support we have received. There is strength gained to bravely face the coming months knowing we are surrounded by family and friends who care and will help.
I know there will be more tears and I’m confident laughter will continue to be a part of our journey. Some days the tears outweigh the laughter and some days it is the other way around.
I’m thankful for what I believe to be true.
I’m thankful God can translate my tears!