I’ve enjoyed using these monthly coffee chats in a way to share with you what we’ve been up to. And despite the stay at home orders, we have kept ourselves busy.
Kaitlyn not only learned to ride a two wheel bike, she fell in love with it, so family bike rides have become our new passion hobby. We’re fortunate that the Carolina weather has been perfect for such activities. One day we even went on a long (8.6 miles!) one down to a golf course where we bought hotdogs from the outdoor snack shack for lunch, biked a trail through the woods, and paused to play on a sandy lake-side beach. It was a beautiful day; I told David it felt like vacation.
If I’m going to use these coffee chats the way I intended, as a peek into real life, I’m also going to open up with you about something very hard and personal.
Dad’s cancer has spread. The doctor stopped the Keytruda because it isn’t working. He just began a new immunotherapy combination that my heart is begging to be effective, help Dad to feel good, and give us more time together. After all, Dad has shocked the doctors before.
If you know me in real life you know I can’t say any of this without my voice cracking and tears welling up in my eyes. It’s the most deeply personal and painful thing I’ve ever been through. I don’t like to say that though because my dad says the hardest part of any of this is seeing the hurt in my mom’s, my brother’s, and my eyes.
This is a path we are navigating in real time and nothing has ever felt so raw or real. As someone that shares life openly on here and on social media, I want to be honest with you about what I’m going through. At the same time I’m also going to ask for your understanding as I continue to share a lot of my life, but walk this path more privately.
I’ve learned that emotional pain develops deeper empathy. While I’d like to think I’ve always been a fairly empathetic person, I find myself reminded on a daily basis now just how true it is that every person you see is fighting some kind of unseen battle. It looks different for everyone; some people lash out, others collapse inward, and some people are really good at hiding it. But we all have open wounds or scars that are ever-present despite our need to carry on with daily life. Another reason why kindness is everything. Be kinder than necessary.
I’m also reminded right now that two emotions can exist simultaneously. While we process sadness, fear, and grief, we can also experience joy and laughter. And we should. I’ve given myself permission to cry when I hurt, laugh when something is funny, and continue to love with an open heart, no matter how much pain that may open me up to. Because things only hurt so much when we’ve had the capacity to love so deeply. And that is a gift.
I’ve made up my mind that May is going to be a good month. The sun is going to shine, we have birthdays to celebrate (Dad’s, Kaitlyn’s, my niece’s, and friends’), Mother’s Day is coming, and David and I will celebrate 11 years of doing life together and all the ups, down, twists and turns we’ve had the pleasure of navigating as a team.
I’m sending you a big hug as we head into a new month during this very unusual time for us all. Take care of yourself, and not just in that “take a bubble bath” kind of way. Give yourself space to feel whatever it is you need to feel. Write. Run. Sleep. Sit in the sun. Watch movies with your kids. Snuggle your dog. Make that phone call. Connect. Process. Get off social media. Read. Pray. Meditate. Breathe.
I’ll leave you with this with a quote from L.R. Knost that’s resonated with me lately…
“Life is amazing. And then it’s awful. And then it’s amazing again. And in between the amazing and awful it’s ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary. That’s just living heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life. And it’s breathtakingly beautiful.”