day of week

Life’s Sweetest Word

22 July 2008

Four years ago, this month, we weren’t in a good place.

My husband was battling cancer and underwent his first round of chemotherapy. It was an aggressive form of cancer, resistant to chemo, and there was no guarantee of success. We had a 2 year old kid, and we just got news that we were expecting another baby.

Every July that comes and goes, I sit and make myself remember it all.

I remember the bleakness. I remember driving through rain, towards the hospital, walking through a car park littered with leaves. I remember the smell of the corridors. The sounds of the machines and medicines. I remember having no joy in my spirit.

I remember trying to live – one day at the time. Having to concentrate on just getting through that single day. It was too painful to think about the future, or life. I would crumble at the thought of how the little things would never be the same – a family picnic in the park, a trip to the beach, a cup of tea at a cafe.

I remember thinking that I might lose my best friend. That my children might not remember who their father was. That I would be sitting in our house, with every single object around me, reminding me of the man I love. That I might forget his face.

I remember the sheer focus and mental discipline that was needed to stop myself from going mad. The thousands of terrible and depressing thoughts, raining relentlessly in my head, images I couldn’t stop, clouding my view, gripping, choking, dragging me down to that deep, dark place.

I remember faith. Holding on to this really huge floating thing that kept my head above the water. I wasn’t exactly sure what to do with it, nor why I was doing it at the time, but it was big, much bigger than me, and it worked.

I remember the helplessness. I remember I couldn’t do a single thing to change anything. Nothing. Just hopelessness. Emptiness. And heart-wrenching sadness.

Then I snap out of it.

I sit back from my reverie, I look at myself – here – in the present.

And I think, Oh my God, how did we escape that one?

Did that really happen? Am I REALLY sitting here with my healthy husband and not one son, but TWO sons running around outside, throwing leaves at each other in the garden? With everyone smiling and laughing and happy as can be?

Why did things turn out like this? What on earth did I do to deserve it?

I’ve come to realise that concepts like “fate” and “destiny” are meaningless to me.

Whereas I discover one of life’s sweetest words – grace.

It heals all that is broken inside me, and makes me want to change my life. To live the best I can. With purpose. With significance. With gratitude. With happiness.