When I originally started this blog, I was proud of being the strong one. I was the spouse who had held it together while our family turned upside down. I worked full time, was pregnant with our second child, sat in on countless doctor appointments, tucked in our child and never missed a school event. I substituted for dad during hospital stays and times when getting out of bed was just not possible for him. I did it all with an unwavering faith that our time as a family was not up. I KNEW we would beat cancer! There was no other option.
Several months ago, I came to the realization that I was very capable of being the strong one, but much less capable of dealing with the actual sadness that accompanies illness. One night, after positive results from my husband’s fabulous oncologist, I realized that the only time I cried about everything we have been through is the moment we received his diagnosis. From that day forward, I put on a brave face and soldiered on. No matter what happened, I never waivered. Not once did I let myself believe that we would not win the war the war with cancer. I never broke down. I never let myself feel.
Fair warning to all of the strong ones, being the rock eventually catches up with you. For me, the moment of truth came from a friend’s innocent Facebook share. A country music fan, she share the story of Joey+Rory, a duo who were also married. Joey, the wife, had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and had gone home to pass peacefully with her family. Her husband started a blog to document their journey (http://thislifeilive.com/). I couldn’t stop myself from following. I read about her slow decline from perfect health and viewed pictures of her bonding with their young daughter. As the posts became more somber and it was clear the end was near, the amount of anguish I felt for this family and my own continued to grow. I couldn’t help but think that this could have been us. I could have been the one sitting next to that bed. Our children came frighteningly close to having to say goodbye to their father. I recognized myself in Rory – he is the strong one.
Joey Feek passed away this afternoon, at the age of 40. When the blog updated and Facebook flooded with the news, I felt such an overwhelming wave of sadness and loss – for someone I didn’t even know. Their story of love and heartache rang so true and real and so much resembled the bond that Dan and I share that for a moment, I was unable to separate the two. All of my fears, all of the thoughts I never allowed myself to have flooded my conscious. The tears that I never allowed to fall were unstoppable.
I had forgotten how cleansing a good crying jag could be. This superwoman just remembered that she is human.
I am still thankful every day that our family was given a second chance at life. I don’t recognize the life we had 7 years ago, but that’s ok. I love our life as it is now and I will love our life as it evolves into something new tomorrow.