perspective · remember that one time...

a lil’ exhale…

Out of curiosity, I just glanced – it’s been a smidge over 3 months since I’ve written.  That’s a long time and not very long at all.  In a 6 month chemo regimen – definitely a long stretch…in a busy season of summer, calendar full – it’s fleeting.

This summer has been fleeting.  I feel I’m starting to miss it already.  My babies are back in school, Lucy’s in kindergarten – off & running in this new phase of life.  I loudly proclaim that ‘it was time’ for she & I both…the nest was getting a little crowded.  I quietly lament the change.

If you’re in NC right now, you know these last weeks have been the ‘dog days’.  The armpit of summer where everyone’s glistening.  There’s a ‘break’ this morning in the heat and humidity, so I feel beckoned to the porch.  This is the 1st Monday in forever (literally) that I don’t have my babies home, an appt to go, an errand to run, or some other means of busy – it’s time to empty the ‘sand bucket’ a little.

Life is good, these days are good, summer has come in every way.  There’s such a good breeze this morning.  I think it’s going help keep these tears from filling my eyes…

I have run (not literally, I never run on purpose) from giving this chapter much ‘breath’.  The after is a strange place.  The pieces of the broken puzzle start to come together and look like the picture of life you imagine but they just don’t fit in the same way.  Colors may be more vivid or altogether gone in some parts.  Some pieces are now round where they used to be square.  Other pieces are just missing or maybe don’t belong altogether.  All the same, it represents the entirety and every day is a choice, challenge, privilege, etc to decide how to see it and/or make it all try to fit together.  Life, right?

A most prevalent piece that I have a very love/hate relationship with is the hair (deep sigh).  The love is definitely how far it’s come…

The hate/frustration is the continued marker.  This next part is brutally honest – for the integrity of the journey.  In some 3am thoughts that needed to come out recently, it went something like this – sans much of the colorful language that accompanied….

sitting around this evening – amongst women i’ve known for years…while they fuss over hair, talk about their hair, make plans for their hair – you cannot know how that depletes me, humbles me…makes me feel so removed.  there is no fault, it’s a reality but it cuts me to the core.  i want to scream – ‘imagine losing almost every strand on your head’ – then talk to me about your hair.  sometimes, it makes me want to scream, ‘what nerve you have – you can’t even imagine’.  then i shower, comb through & dry this lil’ mess of hair on top of my head – tonight i just cried.  it’s so less than, so nothing i would have ever chosen, i just despise it if i’m being honest…but then i remember it’s all i have & i try to be happy with that.  embrace this stage.  just be glad.  it sucks sometimes.

I feel small and sad re-reading that, dredging those dark feelings.  It’s a real struggle.  It’s a self-conscious that no one really sees because I don’t like to go there.  It’s me being me for all intents and purposes, laughing and smiling, then being alone and feeling strange.  Am I seen the same?  How many times was my hair noticed or lack of thought about?

My favorite (tongue in cheek) is when asked if I will grow it out.  Damn right I will.  I never chose to take it all off my head.  I will grow it out on principle.  If then I decide to have short hair, it will be by choice.

I do love when people compliment it though – especially that strangers now think it’s on purpose.  Those who know me & see me often, I appreciate that you notice it too.  That you know how far it’s come.  That you shake off my sarcasm and still use words like ‘beautiful’ ♥

It’s prevalent, physically and emotionally – it’s a ‘piece’ that continues to evolve, change, move me forward.  It’s a daunting and triumphant reminder.  My achilles heel that evokes pain and joy interchangeably.

I’m now just a little over a couple weeks away from the year anniversary of the tip of the iceberg appt, my annual with my OB/GYN.  The ‘hmmmm….those are a lot of hard places there around your collarbone and that lymph node in your neck is really prominent.  I think we should do an ultrasound – could be your thyroid.’  Who would have ever imagined the avalanche that was soon to ensue.

It’s been mentioned and remarked about – even in a recent visit with the above dr.  We’re coming up on the year mark of the big days – the cat scan, the biopsy, the diagnosis, the prognosis, the hasty beginning of treatment.  The most shocking days I’ve ever known.  I am already feeling anxious at the anniversary of those days.  Physically, literally, why does my stomach hurt anxious.  I’m trying to do something about it though.

This October WILL be different.  We’ve rented a beach house for the whole month.  The kids are out of school for most of it, so I’m going to go and get ‘off the grid.’  My biggest goal, other than being somewhere far from the places and memories of this past year is to just breathe.  No schedule, no reminders, no have-to-be’s, but lots of unadulterated breathing.  Listening to the ocean, seeing it’s vastness, breathing in the salt air again and again and again.  A deliberate life-pause of choice, a time to digest, to reflect, to just be ♥



I have a hummingbird that’s been hummingbirddesperately trying to get to the feeder this whole time I’ve been sitting here.  He finally decided to dive in despite my presence.  I have 2 hummingbird feeders this year.  They’re fascinating to watch.  There is a chalkboard sign beneath this feeder on the other side of the glass.  It says, ‘live slowly’ – a sentiment for summer, it’s too hot to do much else.  Sitting a while, savoring, slowing down, enjoying the moment – living in the sweet spot.  Often the in-between of the next hard thing, big thing, whatever thing life is serving at the moment.  The hummingbird knows nothing about slowness.  He fascinates me but I don’t want to be anything like that.  I know something about how quick life can change.  A little ‘here today and gone tomorrow’.

There’s a lot of pain around me right now.  Sickness, broken relationships, hard decisions, big life changes, worry for the world…pain, weariness, hurt, confusion – life just going on and on.  I feel the murk and sometimes it breaks my heart, especially for those close to me.  I feel the murk within my heart too – the tainted parts from my own season of hard.  I pray for it often.  I pray God to change me.  To soften the hard places, to use them, to use me and sometimes I just pray for Him to leave me alone.  He & I rarely see eye to eye on that last one.


What a convoluted exhalation this is 🙂 I guess a better summation would be ‘life is beautiful and life is hard, always and all the time, for everyone.’  My summer sand bucket was filled time & again.  I can’t just have it all be good and dismiss the bad, kind of like separating the grains of sand…futile and likely to ruin the beautiful mess that can come when you dump it all out – just to fill and refill over and again ♥

EI '13 - 071_e


5 thoughts on “a lil’ exhale…

  1. Your story of brokenness & healing is an inspiration to all of us! I look at my life with the sicknesses that surround my house & force me into a caretaker role. God didn’t promise us that life would perfect; He said that He would be with us in the valleys, the dark places!! You are a ray of sunshine & a testimony of God’s healing powers! So thankful that you are a miracle!! Love you & your family!! Theresa

  2. You have such a “way” with words! I am glad you could exhale today! Take time for your beautiful self! I have so much admiration for your strength! May Gid continue to meet your needs! Love you!

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