Silence is what fills my nights when I can't sleep and thoughts of my own mortality fly through my mind. When insomnia hits, it's rarely happy thoughts that fill my head. You know the type of insomnia that little kids get (ok, and even big kids) on Christmas Eve, where they are just too excited to sleep? I wish that was my sleeping problem. Unfortunately, my insomnia is caused by anxiety, or pain, or sickness, or sadness, or stress, or all of the above. And when I'm wide awake in the middle of the night, the silence is deafening. (Well, aside from the incessant meowing from my cat. )
Silence is what fills the many, many hours I spend in waiting rooms and doctor's offices during the dozens of appointments I must go to. Yesterday I had an ultrasound to check out my ovaries and other female parts. As I lay there on the little table while the radiology tech did her thing, I stared at the ceiling and listened to the silence. I wished for some kind words.... or some soft music.... and I really wished I had asked for my hubby to come in with me. He was in the waiting room (of course, because he refuses to have me face any part of this journey on my own), but I really wanted him WITH ME. Even though it was a minor test, and I wasn't having any problems with that part of my anatomy, I felt really lonely in that room undergoing yet another procedure that I wouldn't have to do if I didn't have cancer.
Silence is what fills my mind when I hear of yet another person close to me battling this awful disease. Even with my own illness, I'm not mad. I don't want to rage and shout. I know, being on this side of it, that there are no magic words or "right" things to say. I'm mostly just baffled and my mind is blank. Silence. And then... "Really? Again?" It's staggering, really, how many lives are touched by cancer. What can you do when you hear someone has cancer? Show them love, and tell them you will pray for them. You might not be able to cure them, but you can make the journey easier on them with your support. One of the girls on K's softball team prayed for me the other night. Her mom asked her to say it again so she could record it to show me. Knowing that this sweet little girl (on her own) chose to ask God to use His power to heal me warms my heart. Another girl on the team went to a birthday party where there was face painting. She asked for a pink ribbon on her cheek... for me. I can't ask these little girls for help, but they give it anyway, in their own way.
Silence is what happens to some friendships when someone has cancer. Cancer not only ravages bodies, but it can destroy marriages and it can create distance in other relationships. People get busy and forget about your struggle. Life is busy. Some are afraid to stay close to you because they can't handle serious illness. Maybe they don't want a constant reminder that someone close to them might die. Most people who care about you want to help but don't know how. That doesn't mean they don't love you, or they don't think about you. Not only for the patient, but for those around them, cancer will definitely show you what you're made of. Do you suck it up and face each day head on, or are you a bury your head in the sand kind of person? If you know and love someone with cancer (or any other major illness or challenge), realize that sometimes just breaking the silence helps.
I'm extremely fortunate that I have a husband standing by my side through it all. He is with me each day as we face whatever challenge comes our way. My friends and family help however they can - bringing meals, watching the kids, stopping by for a chat, etc. Sometimes, in the midst of all of this support, I need to take a step back and just be. I may have cancer, but I'm still me.
The definition of silence is "the absence of any sound or noise; stillness".
I might not always welcome the first part, but I am learning to appreciate stillness. Sometimes.