It has been nearly 6 months since we’ve taken Ma into our home. You can read a quick backstory here. Some days it’s hard to believe it’s been that long. Other days it feels like it’s been a 1,000 times longer. Many people have said I really should be blogging about the experience. Some are surprised to know that I actually have a blog in place ... I just haven’t been writing. I’m drained. I’m drained of energy. When I find the energy, I’m drained of words. When I find the words, I’m realizing they are drained of ‘me’.
Oh, I’ve posted updates and pictures of Ma, but nothing that speaks to the overall experience ... the good and the bad. If I'm being honest, I think I’ve been scared to share. I would hate to paint this experience in a poor light that may turn a family away from hosting another young child needing a chance at life. Also, if I’m being really honest, I think I’ve been scared of admitting that I may just not be handling this as well as it seems. It’s embarrassing to admit that. However, there it is ... and the posts that follow will likely contain more confessions, because if I don’t get a little bit of ‘me’ into thoughts and words, I may just lose ‘me’ altogether in this experience.
Hosting Ma has been hard. Like on the order of the hardest thing I’ve ever done. The length of time, the uncertainty and the severity of her disease are all contributing factors. We go in cycles at our house these days. About two weeks after each systemic chemo treatment, Ma hits a low and she is all but inconsolable ... day and night. A dark cloud settles over the house. With each round of chemo the depth and breadth of her lows have been deeper and longer. In fact, we just came out of the last storm within the last day. The crying will still ring in our ears for a few more days, but we are back (hopefully) to normal.
As you can imagine, this causes some upheaval in the house. We feel terrible because she feels terrible. We try to help in any way we can, but fail. She cannot communicate how she feels or what she needs, so we are helpless to her. Tempers start to run short. Homework doesn’t get finished correctly. Errands are not run. The house is a mess. Baths are fewer and far between. Food becomes more unhealthy. Everything else gets pushed to the side.
And every month for the past several months I have reached a breaking point and cried out in desperation to God, “I just can’t do this anymore!!”.
It was at that point a few days ago when I came across the picture above posted on my 9-year-old daughter’s Instagram account. These are pictures she took on her own device. Her words melted me: “So glad this little girl came into my life. I love her!” Wow!
The words to the song "For Good" from the musical Wicked came to mind ...
It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime
So let me say before we part
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You’ll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend ...
Like a ship blown from its mooring
By a wind off the sea
Like a seed dropped by a skybird
In a distant wood
Who can say if I’ve been change for the better?
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good.
I entered this experience thinking we were changing a life for the better. I never dreamed that my life, our lives, would be changed for good.