If you have not already done so, please read my post about What I Really Want for my Birthday
Only now, as I sit in the quiet stillness of my home, do I reflect on my choice to spend my birthday with the women in my support group.
I could have done something else, but I did not want to miss our meeting.
As blessed as I am by the love and support I receive from family and friends, I look forward to my support group, and the strength and encouragement that I find there.
There, I can talk about things that I cannot talk about anywhere else. There I can gain perspective from other women who are dealing with the same issues as I am. There, we are all struggling together, to try and make sense of this crazy reality.
It is my birthday, and these women understand what that means to me in a way that nobody else really understands.
TK has brought me a pink balloon and some chocolates. (If she thinks this gives her an exemption from writing me a letter, she is mistaken!) EZ has made whole wheat cinnamon buns. I feel welcomed and celebrated.
It is my birthday, and I am with friends who understand just how precious it is to mark the passing of another year.
I finally raise the issue that has been pressing on my mind. It is not really a new topic. I am conflicted about how to deal with some of the negative feelings associated with having cancer.
One topic leads to another, and we find ourselves discussing issues of parenting/mothering. I especially appreciate M's point of view -- her children were young when she was first diagnosed. Now, eighteen years later, she has a unique perspective on parenting with cancer. I almost wish we could interview her children.
Towards the end of the meeting, our facilitator suggests that my negative feelings stem from an unwillingness to accept the limitations that cancer has imposed on me.
I cannot deny this observation. I am angry and resentful. I cannot accept that this will not pass and that I will never get my normal life back.
I am acutely aware of all the activities that I have cut out of my daily life. Even so, I am constantly struggling to do more; if not today, then tomorrow.
So many issues were raised but not resolved. Even after the meeting ended, we were reluctant to leave. It will be another two weeks before we meet again.
It is late, and we need to go.
When I enter my home, my kids are still awake.
My son has gotten out of bed because he realized that he forgot to clear the table. I am impressed by his responsibility. He is growing up.
My youngest daughter invites me to sit by her bedside. She wants a few minutes of attention, and I am happy to spend the time with her.
My eldest daughter also wants some attention. She does not have something specific on her mind. She is just happy, and wants to be together.
One by one, I tuck in my children. I look at their sweet faces and wonder how long they will let me mother them in this way. I treasure these moments. They grow up so fast.
Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.
With love and optimism,