Thursday, October 8, 2009

Coming Back Into Focus


Do you know the feeling when you somersault underwater, then come out of it not knowing which way is up and out into the fresh air? I have become quite familiar with that feeling over this past month. When several issues hit at once, that were frustrating, eye-opening and concerning, I had to find my way to fresh air. During that process, I stopped writing on my blog. I stopped, mostly because I had nothing to share. I had put aside my urge to check in with everyone, and to share things I was thinking about. I gave myself time to define my priorities, and to let go of those things that were no longer important.

I have made several discoveries about myself over the past month. I have learned that taking care of my family, my home, my body and my money are all priorities. Not that they weren't in the past, but I have reached absolute bottom with each of these areas lately, that I had to stare each one in the face long and hard to discover how I was going to pursue a comfortable standard for myself. Just how clean is clean? Just how much money needs to be in savings to feel secure? What foods make me feel sick and what make me feel better? How hard do I push for my kids to be involved in after school activities - or homework? How about family respect? Do I demand it at every turn?

My sister, Lisa discovered more cancer in her breast (pectoral) muscle - from the side that the initial tumors were removed. I never considered this would happen. Why? I knew it could. However, I knew what 'clean margins' meant - and when the doctors announced that they 'got it all' with the initial surgery, I never questioned it. I subscribed to the magic carpet that carried us all right out of harm's way and into the land of healing. I should have known better. But I just so desperately wanted to take a deep breath - I wanted to be certain Lisa would be fine forever. So when she called me with the new pathology report a few weeks ago, I felt all the trauma of the first cancer phone call over a year ago. Me, at a laundromat during one of my washer-break-down days, trying to shove the clothes into the dryer, putting quarters into the machine with blurry, tear-filled eyes. The quarters kept falling to the floor, and me, swearing under my breath. I wasn't angry at those quarters, but at life. At the ridiculous cosmos for causing my sister pain and anguish.

So you see, I had to step aside from this blog, from certain areas in my life that were taking considerable time and effort that I just didn't feel I could afford to give. I stopped creating art, making music for fun, enjoying friends, laughing. So many things stopped making sense, and I had to figure it out. Not really a depression, but a serious focusing to get clear on life and how I really want to live mine. I can't stop my sister's cancer. I can't change the housing market. I can't force my children to love school. I can't pay the bills unless I go to work. Looking at all of this with a positive light, I can learn more about breast cancer, to be pro-active rather than frightened. I can keep my house tidy until the right time comes to sell it. I can extend my kids' educational experiences by offering more museum trips and adventures that relate to their curriculum. I can find a way to de-stress at work, providing myself enough space to enjoy what I do and the people I work with.

And I can keep finding time to do the things I love, to keep everything in perspective.

I wish you all well.

10 comments:

Barbara Bechtel said...

Thank you for posting this! It takes a great deal of courage (and is healthy) to write all these things. I'm guilty of similar things right now... :(

I've been reading The Book of Changes by Deepak Chopra right now. I just picked it up on a whim at the goodwill but it is really inspiring. I just read it in tiny 10 minute increments before i go to bed once in awhile, but it does have me thinking. I recommend it if you need something to uplift you a bit.

I will be sending you positive thoughts for your family and sister as she battles this chapter in her life. (hugs)

goldenbird said...

You've been dealing with so much, Jill. I'm sorry about your sister's cancer and will send healing, positive thoughts. While I'm glad you took the time to reflect and re-focus, it's nice to hear from you again. I was getting worried. Take good care of yourself.

GARAGE SALE GAL said...

Hi Jill,
I am so sorry that your sister's cancer has returned...
I pray that this time they do get it all...
Are you still going to blog and make ATC cards...or is that just too much right now? Whatever your decide works.
Take care of yourself.
Deb

Dogwood said...

Dear Sweet Jill~

I have been worried about you lately and each day hoping for a blog post from you. So, today was a good day to see that you had made a post. Thank you for the very touching and honest post. I am so sorry to hear about your sissy's cancer and health issues. Prayers for her and you.

I know you will be able to get things straightened out in your life and kind answers to your questions.

Sweet thoughts for you. Take time for yourself and be kind to yourself.

Hugs, Cory Dogwood

Jill said...

Thank you, my dear friends, for patiently awaiting my return. It has been a long journey these past few weeks, and I am so humbled by your kind and thoughtful words. I look forward to deepening our friendships in blogland as the days pass. I am quite grateful for your support, and will pass it on to my sister (are you reading this Lisa...??)
There will be more posting.
And my ATC cards will not stop, Deb!!

Jill

Jamie said...

I've been thinking of you and hoping everything was ok. In fact, I had just thought of you earlier right before seeing this post. I'm sorry to hear of your sister's news. Take care of yourself! If there's anything at all that I can do to help, please let me know! Sending you big hugs!

karim said...

A valuable post on positivethinking

Thanks,
Karim - Positive thinking

Angela said...

Jill- You know you are in our thoughts. And I am so sorry to hear about Lisa.

I hope you can find a balance with all the things that are going on in your life. And that you will put a little time aside for YOU, and the things that make you happy.

Most of all, give yourself a break and don't try to do it all. Focus on the one or two most important things. Don't try to be the perfect wife, mother, sister, worker, etc. Let some things slide. And maybe ask for help- for example, can the men make dinner on their own once a week? Can you get takeout just once a week, or at least fall back on your easiest recipes? Just as an example.

And tidy house, be damned. Just keep it clean enough for your sanity. Once it's on the market, you'll have to keep it clean all the time.

Best wishes to you, and please be kind to yourself.

Big Sis Lisa! said...

Yes, I am reading Jill! So glad to see you finally felt up to posting. You sure know how to bring tears to eyes! I know that my cancer has been hard on you. I think that is what I hate about this disease. I see what it does to those I love around me. I'm sorry. All I can say is I (we) must go through this, as it is taking us to where we need to be. Someday we will look back on this blip in the road and say, "Oh now I see why that road opened up for us".
Breathe...take time for yourself, even if it is just a cup of tea, a good book, and a scented bath with candles all around.
I love you so much!

kyndale said...

Hi, I feel so sad to hear about your sister. It's hard to move even when you feel like something, someone life is so uncertain. I am sending warm light and love your way. I have to admit, I'm not really good at knowing what to say, but I want you to know I'm thinking of you.

Hugs,
Kyndale