Some days I find great humor and joy in this journey. Today is not one of those days.
I am currently sitting at the airport in Phoenix. Perry, Houston, and I flew here yesterday to make a college visit to Grand Canyon University on Monday. Houston has narrowed down his college choices to two schools and this trip to GCU was going to be a big step in making his final decision.
My brother lives here with his wife and daughter so after we arrived, we drove to their house and settled into a lovely evening with them, catching up and enjoying Debra’s amazing cooking. I had been keeping a close eye on the weather forecast, knowing a storm was brewing back home. I knew if things started looking bad, I would be forced to reschedule my flight home to come back tonight instead of Monday night following our college visit. I am scheduled to get my port for chemo on Tuesday morning and missing that appointment just isn’t an option. I went to bed last night praying I would wake up to a scenario that would allow me to stay here a little longer. That didn’t happen.
This morning the forecast was worse, predicting the biggest snowfall of the season and treacherous travel conditions. So, I got online, changed my flight, then got in the shower and had a good cry. Perry and Houston will be making the visit to GCU on Monday without me.
Anyone who knows me, knows how passionately I feel about being present for my kids’ activities and the special moments in their lives. There are a lot of things I haven’t been able to offer my kids, but I was always determined to do my very best to just be there. And as my friends would also tell you, the times I get most emotional about this cancer journey are when someone does something nice for me and when I think about the potential impact this will have on my kids. Houston is in his senior year of high school, which, let’s be honest, has been a sucky year in many ways. The thought of missing out on any of his last semester’s activities because I’m not feeling well, just about puts me over the edge. So today has been hard.
We did drive over to the GCU campus today so I could look around, and then I found great solace in a double/double burger and fries (animal style) from In and Out. Of course I made myself feel better about that meal choice because I also ordered a Diet Coke. My definition of a balanced diet.
When I am sad, I get angry. It’s my default emotion. So right now, I’m annoyed. I’m annoyed at the helpful baggage check-in lady. I’m annoyed with the happy airport security woman. I’m annoyed at the thought of being C58 in Southwest boarding because I rebooked my flight and thus, was the last person to check in for my flight. Hello middle seat in the very back row. And I’m downright pissed off at the person sitting next to me looking over my shoulder reading this blog as I write it. Good grief, woman, keep to yourself!
I’m sure to everyone around me, I look like a perfectly healthy, middle class, middle-aged woman who is overly grumpy. In reality, I’m a heartbroken mom who is flying home alone and missing a moment with her son because she has to go home and get ready for chemo. But nobody knows that. They just think I’m one of those people who scowls at the entire world and makes it very obvious I do not want to be bothered. By the way, I am not making excuses for my behavior tonight; I’m just working through this mess by letting you in on my lowest points, hoping the process of putting these thoughts to the keyboard might help me right my own perspective. I think it’s helping.
You’ve probably heard the saying, “Be kind because everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” I suppose I am seeing first hand how true and important that really is. Helpful baggage check-in lady might be working a second job to help pay for her father’s assisted living. Happy TSA woman might be a single mom putting herself through school, trying to make a better life for her and her kids. Nosy woman-looking-over-my-shoulder might be a songwriter desperate for new song ideas so she’s invading the space of anyone she can find in hopes of finding that big idea. I really should feel sorry for that woman.
I’m not afraid of bad days. I’m more afraid those bad days won’t turn me into a better person. I hope they will. I believe they will if I allow God to use them in that way. I pray my anger will soften and give way to compassion. That the number of minutes I spend thinking about my own stuff will decrease and the minutes I focus on others will increase. I pray my disappointments, like missing out on a moment, will become moments to trust I am exactly where I am supposed to be. Even if that means sitting in the middle seat of the back row on flight 4945, going home alone.