My mom’s terminal cancer is teaching me a surprising amount about myself.
I am often harder on myself than I am on other people.
When wielded well, my standards and ambition drive me to success. When brandished as a weapon, I become my own worst enemy.
If you have been reading Belle Brita for at least a few months, then you might have noticed my lack of goals this month. One of my blog sub-categories is Monthly Goals. But as soon as my mom broke the bad news to me, I knew my goals had changed, just days after I shared them.
I didn’t accomplish a single one of my blogging goals in June. I did the necessary health goals: I take all my prescriptions, and I had a dental check-up.
Dan and I did manage a couples’ massage, but it was more for our stress than for my birthday. And he’s been such a saint that I haven’t had to try to be more patient with him.
I’ve done nothing for my household goals, which is the least surprising since I’ve spent more time in Greenwood than I have in Duluth in the last month.
But I’m trying not to look at my undone goals as a failure–just as a temporary setback.
As long as I still have my mom with me, I can only take life one day at a time. It’s so hard for me to focus while I’m at my parents’ house. I can only manage to do the bare minimum to maintain my blog.
There’s no point in me trying to set specific goals for July, not while my life is an awkward dance of grief and distractions, joy and pain, family bonding and family irritations, immense loneliness and suffocation of too many people.
While I know that being in Greenwood is the right thing to do, I still feel frustrated at not working. At barely writing. At falling behind in my two (self-paced) online classes, one to help me as a freelance writer and one to help me as a social media marketer. At leaving a disheveled house for Dan to maintain. At not actively maintaining my first attempts at gardening.
But I’m learning a lot about grace. Specifically, I’m learning to give myself grace. Grace for choosing to be “on call” for my family rather than be at work everyday.
In the face of death, I think we all feel a little useless. What matters is what we do with that.
It’s okay for me to be sad. It’s okay for me to feel (albeit inaccurately) like no one can possibly feel the way I do. It’s okay for me to wish things were different.
But I’m trying not to wallow in self-pity.
My mom’s terminal cancer isn’t about me.
That is, it’s a little about me. But it’s also about my dad, and my brothers, and my mom’s siblings, and my husband, and my sister-in-law, and my mom’s friends, and the people from my parents’ church, and my dad’s brothers, and my cousins, and all the people who my mom has ever loved.
We’re all just doing the best we can.
Like my mom keeps saying (quoting her friend): “It is what it is.”
Even if I’m going a little stir-crazy without a job, I’m so glad to be in Greenwood. I’m so grateful to be with my mom during her last few months.