There is a rule that when you go to a dinner party or meet someone new that you are not supposed to talk about religion and politics. I am definitely not a fan of that rule, because those are two of my most favorite topics. Religion is one subject that I feel a deep connection to, especially during this traumatic time in our life. My husband and I have been more in touch with our faith than ever before. I consider myself to have a rebel heart, but I am also old fashioned in a lot of ways, a true student of spirituality, and a believer in God.
God has brought my family strength, peace, and has helped us cope. The pandemic is one thing, but we are also dealing with a family matter that I think many of you will relate to. It all started over a month ago when my mother-in-law, Mary, called us on a Monday afternoon to tell us she was in the hospital. Mary had been experiencing wheezing, and thought she may have COVID-19. After some x-rays, doctors discovered a mass on her lung that was pressing against her windpipe. That phone call was hard, but nothing compared to the phone call just a couple weeks later after doctors did a biopsy on the tumor, and it came back to be cancer. Imagine being a parent and having to tell your kids you have cancer.
That news was followed by insurance company headaches, making appointments, and more scans to see if the cancer had spread. After more waiting, we learned that Mary’s cancer did indeed spread to her liver, which makes it Stage 4. If you have been following my writing over the years, you know that my husband, Nick and I have a great relationship with our parents. A year ago, they walked both of us down the aisle at our wedding. They also share the same first names, and both Nick and I have the same middle name of our father’s first name. Our wedding invitation explains it all. Now, here we all are dealing with emotions that we never in a million years thought would come our way. Nick’s mom now has to endure rounds of chemotherapy, and go through all the obstacles that cancer brings.
If you and your family have dealt with cancer, you understand that the first month is one of the hardest. You can’t focus on anything until new updates are given and a treatment plan is in place. Every cancer diagnosis and family situation is different. We all deal with medical news in our own way. My intent for sharing this story is to shine some light on how the power of prayer, and reconnecting with God has brought true comfort and hope to our family. Here are some lessons that are getting us through each day. My wish is that they bring some light to you as well.
Have Trust In God
I was given a bible years ago that shares modern translations of the passages and versus to help understand. One of the simplest and most powerful messages I learned was to have trust in God. We have to believe and trust that he has a plan. Create your own relationship with God, and trust he is with you. My mother-in-law has peace with whatever God has planned for her.
Always remember to check-in and simply let your loved one know you are thinking of them. Technology is a wonderful thing, but there is nothing more special than receiving a handmade card or thoughtful message in the mail. My mother-in-law has a “Healing Wall” that is made up of drawings, cards, and well wishes. Don’t be afraid to talk about cancer. It is not a bad word. There will be times when your loved one wants to talk about it, and other times when they simply want to have a light hearted conversation about absolutely nothing.
Image from Pixababy.com
Adjust Your Inner Circle
There is nothing more draining than dealing with a serious family matter, while trying to find time to save the world of a needy friend. We all know these “me, myself, and I-type people.” Surround yourself with friends that are going to lift you up, embrace your thoughts, add joy, and be there just to listen. This should be a rule of thumb for life in general. Don’t take on small drama, stop gossiping, and do your best to not feed into negative chatter.
Nick and I pray every night for his mom and anyone that is struggling right now. If you have someone special in your life, do something together where you are both concentrating on sending good thoughts to another person. Not everyone believes in prayer, but we should all wish healing on those that need it. Sending out good intentions into the universe could be through meditation, making a gratitude list, or toasting out loud.
Cry It Out
There is nothing like a good long cry. Some people are taught to suppress their emotions, but I believe crying is a healthy release. It is like your body’s way of telling you to just let it out. Do just that – let your emotions flow.
Focus On Today
After learning the news of my mother-in-law, I immediately put together a master plan to move, find a new job, sell our furniture, and start a new life where we could be right by her. Although my reaction had the best of intentions, I needed to take a moment and not flip our world upside down. The key is to focus on what you can control today. What happens tomorrow is unknown, so we have to truly express gratitude for the present.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. My husband and I are grateful for everyone that has lifted us up and kept Mary in your thoughts. Her spirits are up, and we are praying she is on the path to healing.