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inching forward

As I was settling into my new life in March of 2003, the fog of depression started to dissipate. Clarity started to settle in. I had a little more energy to make it through the day. I started to hang pictures on the wall and had unpacked all the boxes in my new home. My job situation had become clearer with some focus. . One of my new job requirements of raising two children as a single mom was to limit my travel, a challenging need to fulfill working for a company based in another state. I relied on work contacts as I considered options and continued to try and let go of where I was to work next.

And then it happened- I was offered a new role in a new division with the same company, just three days before I was to be laid off. A corporate marketing role, something I knew well from my work experience and tasks that came easy for me. What a gift, a job that was not very demanding on my focus or energy, allowing me the grace of space and time to grieve and heal my broken heart. A life giving experience of trusting in the bigger picture unfolding. Trust that whatever path emerged, it would unfold just as I needed it to and just in time.

With my work situation clear, I was able to continue moving into my home. I painted the main bathroom, finished hanging the pictures, and completed the basement organization. Wow. Felt good to do something with my hands. Something I could control, I guess. Up to this point, I had made it through each day feeling like I was in somewhat of a holding pattern, not able to bring myself to start something new or finish anything completely. With clarity and success, I was able to inch forward again, make progress.

In parallel, mom was progressing through her post-surgery chemo, day by day, with minimal energy. Her normal mode of energizer bunny was put on hold as her body succumbed to the poison. Poison from drugs that were killing off the cancer cells, while also having a noticeable impact on her healthy cells. Impacting her ability to eat, causing her tear ducks to clog, and more. As she struggled day to day with the effects of the drugs, mom began to try and understand what she was supposed to be learning from this experience.  In her journal, she wrote- ‘cancer is about claiming your space, having a right to be here on this earth and appreciating the contributions I make.’ She kept track of her feelings each day, what she was able to manage and whether she had any energy. One entry, the day after my birthday, she wrote ‘what did I learn today? to be aware, notice things in my life, notice that I had a wonderful marriage, a warm feeling in my heart to know the power of love.’ Mom continued to focus on healing and on May 13, she wrote ‘no more chemo!’ A triumph for sure to end the poisoning of her body, create space for her energy to inch back little by little. The downside was she stopped short of the recommended amounts of treatment.

By June 4, mom’s energy had increased more. She wrote- ‘1st time more energy after watching TV in evening! played bridge, had dinner and cleaned up! energy returning, thank you god!’ As my home life started to feel more settled, I knew it was time to focus on mom again. Mom’s journey was taking its toll on my father and he was experiencing some health issues. I needed to connect with mom, see what was going on with dad, so I headed back to Austin for a visit. Mom and I were able to get out of the house for a while to have a pedicure and go shopping. We caught up and the bond in our hearts expanded further. She shared her feeling that she was ‘cured’ of the cancer. Wow. Could it be she was triumphant again of the evil ‘c’? I was supportive but inside felt different, felt more like maybe she was healed. I was relaxed and at peace as my mom and I enjoyed some time being totally who were, authentic from the inside out. My father was ok, he just needed his medication adjusted. At dinner, dad was able to laugh and tell jokes, like a stand-up comic, something I had never experienced before.