This Is Where We Are

These days have been about realizing anew my limitations,recognizing again my overwhelming need for help, grieving and letting go of expectations. 

There are certain common landmarks in the cancer journey. We past some of them a long while ago. But this week we past a new landmark, one we'd hoped we wouldn't pass at all. 

This week we had to admit that Bryan can't keep working. 

His pain is excruciating and getting worse all the time. He's on some pretty heavy pain meds around the clock now and even that isn't really relieving the pain. Between the pain itself and the medications for the pain it's hard for him to hold a conversation or stay focused for more than a few minutes.

It was hard for Bryan to admit and recognize that he needed to stop working, but his company has been incredible about it. They agreed to hold his position and continue paying his insurance until the beginning of December. They basically met the FMLA requirements despite the fact that they didn't need to as a small company. We are so thankful. 

But this is a new threshold we've now stepped across and the way in front of us is vague and unclear. 

I also had to admit and recognize something of my own this week. I can't keep going the way I have the past few months.

The responsibilities on my shoulders are more than I can carry alone. Bryan needs more from me than I've been able to give lately. I've tried balancing Sage's care, and parenting and schooling Thad, with still caring for Bryan and it's too much. I can't do it well without way more help than I've ever had or asked for. 

I'm so grateful for the help I have been gifted this past month during the worst of it. But I have to face the fact that Bryan's not getting better right now, he's only getting worse. I have to concede and admit I can't balance all of this anymore. Something needs to give. 

And the first thing that needs to give is homeschooling.

I had hoped we would last longer than a month. There are things I really like about the online program we have been using. I feel like we are only just starting to figure it out and I am just starting to catch glimpses of how it could really work. But right now, at this season, with Bryan where he's at, it's not working. 

I followed the pull to homeschool and now I need to follow the pull to stop. 

It feels an awful lot like failure, but I'm trying to remind myself that honesty and vulnerability aren't failure. I'm trying to remind myself that something being right for a time, even just a short time, and not right for another season doesn't mean failure, it just means change. Change isn't failure. It's just the way of life. 

I don't doubt the pull that led me to homeschool a month ago. And when I'm truly still and quiet, when I'm not thinking about what other people might think, I don't doubt the pull that's leading me away from it now. 

That doesn't stop shame and guilt and comparison from rising up, but those are common companions for me and I'm slowly learning how to quiet them. 

When you walk a road you don't want to walk there are these moments of acceptance when everything becomes clear and sharp and honest. They aren't easy moments. 

It's like when your driving along in the fog and the fog clears just enough for you to catch a glimpse of a road sign. It takes a bit to adjust, you're not on the road you thought you were on or the one you wanted to be on, but then you say, "Ok, this is where I am. How do I move forward from here?" 

This week has been a bit like that. A bit like saying, "Ok, this is where we are. It's not where we thought or where we hoped, but the truth of it is we're here. Now, how do we move forward from here?" 

Grace and peace, Bethany

UncategorizedBethany Stedman