In the immortal words of a dear friend: Farewell 2013 – don’t let the door hit you on the way out. We have not enjoyed much of this year. (That is what one refers to as understatement…I understand if you didn’t recognize it as it is underrepresented in my communication!) So no…not much fun over the last year, or at least for all but the first two months. But here I sit in my suspiciously clean and tidy living room with a fire burning and a tree lit, drinking a cup of particularly delicious coffee and aware that I feel pretty good. Adam is back. He hurts and he’s often frustrated by the lingering side-effects of chemotherapy, but he is here. Which is something I won’t take for granted anytime soon. He even looks the same again…only thinner. I am trying not to hold that against him…. He has often tried to share his weight-loss plan, but I’m not actually that desperate! We hope and pray that 2014 will be an easier year – a time of healing, repairing, and reaching out. We have no guarantee that we will get that kind of year…and we will deal with that when and if we have to. For now, I am going to enjoy my hope. I’m going to plan vacations, budgets, and daily routines that don’t include trips to the Cancer Center. I’m still going to have to make allowances and adjustments for the ever-changing landscape of life and I’m going to hope that some of those unexpected moments bring joy instead of grief. When I see truth – even devastating truth – I settle more firmly into the skin that God gave me. That is what I want for this year: the opportunity to settle into this new skin our family has been given. I guess I’m still taking deep breaths and trying to stay present. I’m just enjoying these moments more than most of the ones from the last ten months.
This is now the third draft of this post. I hope it will be the final one, but there is certainly no guarantee of that. I have so much that needs saying and so little capacity to say it well. So. Merry Christmas. We love you all and are so thankful for your love, prayers, and support over this year. And, oh my, thank you God for the end of this year! We are at an end and a new beginning. It is apropos. All treatment is complete, and we begin the remission journey. For the next five years, Adam will be scanned, examined and tested at regular intervals. If, by God’s grace, he is still cancer-free at that point, he will be considered cured. We will at some point be capable of being happy about that, but for now, we are simply numbly grateful that we are done with treatment.
For right now, we are trying to recapture a home and family life that aligns with what we used to have. You know, the kind where we spend time together instead of each hiding in our rooms. I want to start cooking and eating together and planning for the future again. Adam has to relearn how to do all sorts of things – from buttoning buttons to typing to balancing all his responsibilities at home and at church. We have to forgive ourselves, each other and everyone else for hurts intentional, accidental, real or simply imagined. And we still cry a lot. We hope we’ve learned to be gracious with others and with ourselves through this ordeal.
This Christmas isn’t about giddy excitement – except for with the kids who absolutely CANNOT calm down…. But for us, it is about comfort and consolation. Peace. It is a quiet sort of joy and that is all I have the capacity for. We barely made it…and only by the grace of God and with the help of loved ones. But that isn’t a bad picture of life.
So here is your virtual Christmas card in blog form…with no pictures because…well, you know. I look like crap! Everyone else is cute…. We are here. And we have great hope for 2014: we are tentative and wounded, but we are trusting and healing.
Farewell 2013. You are the year brought to us by cancer and we will not miss you, but we will never be the same and will be thankful for the lessons we have learned and the love we have given and received.