The week of June 17th through the 24th my family went on vacation. We left our hot flat area of the country for a hot mountainous area of the country. My parents (the only living grandparents of the cubs) went with us. You see, Popaw Bear has cancer. He has been valiantly fighting it for 7.5 years. The type of cancer he is combating has a five-year survival rate of 17%. We are on gifted time. He is currently on his 2nd recurrence of the disease. From and earthly standpoint, the outcome this time is fairly bleak. So we took this vacation together while he is still able to have some fun so we could all build up memories for those times when the going gets rough. When we returned home I had to admit that this time my daddy is not going to get well the way I want him to. For the first time since the days after his initial diagnosis, I broke down in sobs and allowed so much of the pain, the fear and anger at the situation flow out on Bear’s shirt front. All my emotions have been on edge and the tears are never very far from the surface recently. For someone who does not like to cry, especially in front of people, the inability to control my emotions has been doubly distressing and embarrassing for me. But with the admission of my emotions I have found such an outpouring of love and support from unexpected places. For all those who have given hugs, sent texts, called, and written, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I have always kept people up to date on how my parents are doing, but rarely have I addressed how I am doing, except when it was in celebration of Popaw Bear’s triumph over the disease. I have always kept the focus on how Mimi and Popaw Bear were handling things. Part of it was because as the adult child I was wading through uncharted waters and was unsure how much people really cared how I was handling things. It was also a defense mechanism for me – a way to hide. If I talked about them and not me, I did not have to face my own emotions. The result, though, is that 7.5 years of fear, anger, and grief have come shooting out like a diet coke/Mentos experiment, a veritable volcano of feelings that I had no idea were even there, let alone know how to identify and name and work through.
I write this, not as a way to get sympathy, but to talk about how doing this has affected my life. It is also to let anyone who wanders onto this blog understand my point of view as I work through the next period of my life. It is another part of getting fit. I have come to the realization that I can’t be fit physically if I am not fit mentally, emotionally and spiritually as well. Not only do I need to get my muscles back in shape and shed extra pounds, I need to shed some emotional poundage as well. As I move towards health, I have to address the relationship I have with myself, with my family and friends, and especially with God. So it is time to get serious. It is time to get back to work in the studio. It is time to get back on my computer for work. It is time to work in my journal for my emotions. It is time to work on my knees with my open Bible to heal my soul.