I'm still here, still not sure when I will get to go home, but today was a better day. My purpose in this life was to be a mother and a wife, and I was finally reminded of that. I never wanted to be these things. I remember imagining as a teenager what it would be like to be a mom. I couldn't understand why anyone would want to be responsible for another human being for the rest of their lives. Why anyone would want to have a child walking around, making his or her own decisions, and being able to do nothing but love that child and continue praying that life would be kind and keep that baby safe. This was insanity. Before my first bone marrow transplant, doctors asked me and my parents if I would want to freeze some of my eggs so that I could have children in the future. The thought was laughable. I literally remember thinking, "Heck no! Burn them all!" And marriage? Why tie yourself to someone that you would likely just bicker with and detest for the rest of your lives? Better to have a career, my own home, and surround myself with furry creatures I could love and tend to. That was my plan. My terrible plan.
I have already talked about how grateful I am that God had a different path in mind for me. He slowly and methodically led me to Colten, and then abruptly and unapologetically gave me Aurora, and He altered my "perfect" map of life until it was adjusted to its proper course. And I know I would not be here had things gone my way. The past couple weeks have been incredibly hard. My faith and spirit have been continuously tested and tried, and found wanting. The losses and setbacks have come without pause and it has felt hard to simply breathe, let alone maintain a positive attitude and continue the war against my disease. This past week was particularly bad, and I thought it was mostly due to the timing relating to my transplant and this special time of year, but I think it was truly because I was forgetting my purpose.
My sister sent me a text message last night reminding me that I had to walk, I had to get up, and I had to keep trying. I felt a slow burn of anger, quickly replaced by my now typical impassivity. I watched the television. I wallowed in my loneliness. I harbored my resentful thoughts about the world outside my room. And then Aurora walked in the door and the world seemed to shift. The worthless, pitiful woman I was becoming shrunk away in an instant. That woman cannot exist in Aurora's eyes. I am her mother. I am strong. And I will be the living example of what women can achieve, what faith can do, and what hope can bring if we simply reach for it. I cannot fail her. She smiled and ran to embrace me and I remembered that I have so much to do, so much to live for, and so many reasons to fight. It was like walking out of a fog. She cried a little. She missed her cousins. She was tired. And mostly, she missed "our old life." Last night was the first time I have ever seen my daughter break down about my cancer and our circumstances. We have been warned and questioned by endless professionals about her mental state, how she handles my sickness, if she is alright. Our answer is always a resounding "she's fine," as she takes everything in stride. Honestly, I have been actively fighting cancer for virtually her entire life. Coming to chemotherapy with mommy and hanging out at the doctor's office are things that she considers to be normal, every day activities. But the past months have worn on her more than I ever knew.
She asked to go home. Back to our trailer. She doesn't want to visit anymore family (something that has never troubled her before). She doesn't want to go back to our new apartment. She just wants to go home, and, more than anything, she wants mommy to come home, too. These words both shattered and mended my breaking heart. It is a feeling unlike any other to be a mom (or parent, in general). To know that there is a little person who depends on you for absolutely everything, and sees you as a super hero (for a time, anyway). To hear my beautiful girl voice how much she misses me and wants me to come home gave me new resolve, and fixed so many of my broken pieces. But it also felt like falling through glass to know how hurt my daughter has been, how sad and confused. I felt like a terrible mother for seeing only my own trials without considering what she might be going through. We have sent her to stay with so many different family members, I honestly thought she was probably just having a heck of a time vacationing and hadn't a care in the world. It turns out my little girl is growing up, and is starting to see and understand more of the world than I gave her credit for. I am proud and crestfallen at the loss of that innocence.
So I held her and stroked her hair. I told her how much I loved her. And I vowed to leave this place so that I can be with her, and make a new home that she can love and feel whole in. We went for a walk. It was hard, and I couldn't make it very far, but Colten held my hand through each step and Aurora marched resolutely beside me. I was made to be with these people. I was put on this earth to love and care for them. How could I ever forget such a thing? As they walked out my door once more to head to the apartment, I memorized the feeling of being left behind. Of being locked in and watching my loves walk away. I hate it. More than anything in the world. And I cannot take it anymore. So I got up this morning, and I walked some more. I have not slept well for weeks. I average 2-3 hours a night in the hospital, if I am lucky. My muscles are deteriorated, my gut is in knots, and I am surviving on fumes, but I walked. And when my beautiful girl and wonderful husband graced my room with their smiling faces this afternoon, we went and walked some more.
The nurses noticed. Happy faces waved at me and I could see relief in so many eyes. People I had walled myself away from, people I have come to care for, looked at me like I had been in a coma and was finally waking up. Aurora danced and skittered around the hallway, fresh with new life after a good night's sleep in her own bed. I am remembering what it feels like to move, to try, to live. The doctors would not promise me that I could go home tomorrow, but it looks like Wednesday is a very real possibility. They mentioned they had seen me out and about and seemed to take that as a very good sign. I ate protein for the first time in almost a week. My stomach is cramping and complaining and I am exhausted from the day, but I want to go home. It would probably be better if I stayed tomorrow and gave my body a little more time to adjust to food and self-nutrition again, but I want to go home. So I am going to get up again in the morning and walk, and see what the doctors say in the afternoon. I am praying for complete healing of my GVHD, and a body that is as ready to be free of this hospital as my mind already is. And though I know it probably will be Wednesday before I break out, I am hoping for tomorrow.
And I am so thankful, so incredibly--beyond any words--thankful for my daughter, and my husband. I am so thankful that God gave me such purpose in my life. And I am grateful for sisters who encourage me and push me as necessary. I am touched by the family that continuously comes to see me and help whenever they are needed (today Marcine and Troy visited, which was such a blessing). I am awed by the amount of people who care for and love me and my family on a daily basis. The quote inside my tea bottle today was by Confucius, "Everything has
beauty, but not everyone sees it." I suppose this is true, even of my recent obstacles. I wish I could say I have learned so much in the past couple weeks, or that they changed me for the better and I am happy to have lived them. I am not. I wish I could erase them entirely from my life. I still miss my dog, and hate that I am here again. Today, Colten brought me Kaed's ashes, and I took some comfort in knowing I will always have him with me. But I see no beauty. However, I am happy that I am waking up, and that I am going home. I know I can continue to do what is necessary, and that I will be triumphant over my cancer in the end. And that is beautiful. Maybe it is not so much that we must see beauty in everything, as long as we can see the beauty that comes from everything. I would not walk these past weeks again. But I am looking forward to a beautiful tomorrow, and better days ahead.