Monday, July 18, 2011

For Crying Out Loud

Thanks to everyone for your prayers for my sister-in-law Karla (to read all my posts about Karla’s journey with breast cancer so far, go here). Every week, the after-effects of chemo have been harder to deal with. She has her last chemo treatment of this first round of treatments tomorrow. Then, she will have a week off before beginning a second round of 12 weekly chemo treatments with a new drug. Our prayer request right now is that she doesn’t continue to experience the debilitating sickness and emotional trauma that she has had to deal with thus far. 

 Karla has been dealing with a lot of emotions lately. When we were at her last chemo treatment two weeks ago, she just started crying; she was angry, she was frustrated, and she was sad. She knew what was coming when she sat down in that chair—and she was dreading it. The actual chemo treatment is not so bad, actually. We’ve done our best to create a party atmosphere in the healing room, to get to know the folks around us, and to keep the smiles on our faces. But Karla knows that she has a scant amount of time before her body rebels and she is sick, depressed, and depleted—and so not herself. In many ways, we as her family feel like we are on this journey with her, but we are just at her side. We are not walking in her shoes. We can only understand her to a certain point. And that’s got to be frustrating too.

Karla has one particular friend who has walked this road and worn those shoes, and she’s been a great comfort. She can tell Karla about some of the detours on this journey: the bumps and potholes, what the traffic is like, and the best places to refuel. Suzanne knows what Karla’s feeling because she’s been there. She’s been angry, frustrated, and sad too. She knows—really knows—what it’s like.

There’s a grieving going on here that’s inevitable. Karla grieves for her health, her body, and her familiar life that has become this Where in the world am I? kind of place where nothing—her own reflection included—is recognizable. She’s missed time with her kids, a planned-before-cancer summer trip, and just regular family life. And she's mad. I know she's mad because she's told me so. She's asked why, and she's questioned, and she's probably thrown things, too. But she has a freedom to be herself before the Lord because she knows He can take it. (If you don't believe me, look at the psalms. Emotions are all over the place there, right alongside a heart of worship and an acknowledgement of God's sovereignty.)

So why not cry, Karla? The Lord's shoulders are big enough for even those loud and long, heaving sobs that come up from the bottom of our souls. And you know that I think it's okay if you feel compelled to scream and holler too. We might not be wearing the same shoes, but we’re your family, and we're on the same untraveled road…together.

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1 comment:

Winona Smith said...

Karla- Sometimes life is just the pits. But... our Heavenly Father sees all, knows all, and has a plan for you. Trust in Him to be your all in all as you go through this one day at a time, one hour at a time, one moment at a time. Easier said than done... but it will help. Love you so much. Winona

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