Updated: Sep 13, 2020
It’s OK to not be OK.
What we face is beyond comprehension. Beyond imagination. When people say “I can’t imagine what you are going through”, they really can’t. But should they? Should they spend their time imagining the way our lives have been turned upside down?
How one day you are worried about what you are going to feed your children for dinner and getting them to school on time with lunch and snacks. Or getting them to all their extra-curricular activities on time and trying to figure out when to squeeze in meals and baths. But then the next day, you are spending 5 hours in the emergency room only to be told that your child’s MRI is indicative of a malignant tumor. Of cancer.
We go through the moments of sheer terror, of denial, of outright numbness then anger, then sadness. We move in and out of these emotions and sometimes feel them all at the same time.
Our life was fairly predictable one day, then the next day it’s not.
And just when you begin to ease into the state of normal, or “new normal”, it gets uprooted and you find yourself grappling to cope with all the emotions.
Some days you wake up brave and feeling strong enough to feel normal. Other days, you wake up faking it till you make it. And there are days when what you have managed to hold together feels like it is unraveling and you have to start over.
The emotions are always up, down, around, over and under. And you have no control. The unpredictability of cancer doesn’t keep you from trying to have control so you can cope, but there will be days that you feel powerless.
It’s ok to not be ok. It’s okay to have days where it’s been too much to take. It’s okay to cry or throw a pity party for a few minutes. It’s okay to let out all the emotions you try to keep in check or keep hidden, from even yourself.
Because what you are going through is traumatic. It is terrifying. It is downright unfair. Your child has cancer and every day he or she is fighting for their life and you are there to be their advocate and make sure you help them with their symptoms. You don’t always have time to let yourself feel what is happening. And sometimes, letting yourself feel is so overwhelming and no amount of tears feels enough. And sometimes you have hide the feels to protect your kids, especially your cancer kid.
It’s ok to not be ok. It’s okay to not have it all together. What you are going through is scary. It is unimaginable. And you don’t know what to expect on a daily basis as you go through treatment. You don’t know what the outcome of treatment will be. You don’t know if you can let yourself dream and believe in a future without feeling the fear and grief mixed in with the hopes and dreams.
Nobody expects you to be ok. You shouldn’t expect yourself to be ok. At least not all the time. It’s okay to have fears and grieve the loss of normalcy. Allow yourself to feel it. To deny it will only make it worse.
Feel it, but find your safe place to feel. Find the people who will let you put your guard down and cry, and pout and yell and just feel. Let them hold you, hug you, sit with you, pray with you and give you permission to be vulnerable. It’s not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of your humanity.
You WILL come out stronger. You WILL make it through it. It will hurt like hell. But YOU WILL find an inner strength that you never knew you had. Even when you are at your lowest, YOU are STRONGER than you have ever been. And you are carrying the strength for you and your child, while you fight for the entire family.
Today, it’s okay to not be ok. And it's okay to let it out.