When did it begin? Well it all began back in the late part of July. My husband Johnny, bless his heart, came home with a look of fear and disbelief on his face. For days he seemed to be struggling with something though what I did not know. He was very quiet and way too attentive to me, even watching a musical with me claiming he actually enjoyed it. He began by looking me in the eyes, though he had had a beer or two by now I could see the depth of distress in his eyes. Then he told me he had something he needed to tell me. All I could think was oh no, here we go. I began to question myself. Does he still love me? Has he found someone else? Do I really want to hear this? Then he pushed the trigger. It was like a bomb went off in my head and my world, our world changed in a swift yet very brief second. Suddenly we were looking at a very uncertain and deafening world. Johnny's words hit home like a slap across the face as we were faced without work, without pay and without the possibility of insurance.
I will be very honest with you I was very scared....terrified to be completely honest. Breast cancer has taken so much from us, especially when it comes to maintaining my remission. No matter how hard we have tried we have been unable to replenish our saving over the last few years due to medical expenses. I stood there searching Johnny's face understanding his fear, knowing how much we have struggled and so the idea of being without work and pay felt like the lowest blow we could receive.
I knew right there and then Johnny was afraid I would leave him though I never would. Our vows said for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. I was going nowhere! But I knew Johnny felt as if he was letting his family down but love does not abandon those she holds close does she? No when times begin to overwhelm us love embraces the difficulties.
So I stood there listening, crying and wondering how we would get through this blow. My thoughts went to the kids, the house payment, the half empty pantry and of course what would happen if we lost our insurance. I have to tell you the truth my whole body went numb as these thoughts crossed my mind but... yes I love this word... there is always a but isn't there? But my heart caught up with my speeding mind and reminded me of God's grace. I stopped after I wiped my tears away and took Johnny's hand. He is a good man, a loving man and sadly at that moment a very defeated man. Again my heart affirmed I wasn't going anywhere! No way no how! It was my turn to hold fast and not to run away in fear. Johnny never flinched as I lost my breast, my hair and the world we had build together before breast cancer came barreling into our lives and neither was I.
We spent the first week to ourselves swallowed by the darkness. We didn't say anything to anyone. We didn't know what to say nor did we want to add to the "Olachia Trails and Tribulations File" either. Mostly we tried to decide what our options were the first week or two. The second week I made lots of eggs, pancakes and lots and lots of pasta while we asked ourselves how we get here. By the third week we began to emerge a bit and then something beautiful began happening. We saw a light ahead of us as friends began showing up at our doorstep with food, food money, school clothes and emotional support. Even the boys schools came through with supplies so they had what they needed to start the new school year off with.
Have I given up my hope? No, I have not nor will I ever. I may fret from time to time, worry, break down and cry away from the world to see but I will never give up hope! Maybe we have lost our income and yes maybe in the end we may even lose our house... but ( there is that word again) we will never lose our home! Our lives may be minus worldly wealth but this time we have spent together day in and day out has brought us closer than I ever knew we could be. We have spent more time at home, at the parks, searching for free events and activities and with each other without distractions. Our family has gotten back to the basics and I am grateful for this gift.
No I would not choose this avenue. True it was most definitely chosen for me but ( hum see a pattern here?) I can't allow these detours of life to overtake me. What cancer has taught me is to survive! Cancer has chipped away the everyday worries and strengthened my spirit. No it hasn't been easy and at times it has been down right painful but ( just can't stay away from this word can I ?) cancer has also brought my life victories. If it were not for the dark places in life I would never have found this joy and this hope burning inside my soul now.
Yes, the road is still dark in many ways but ( shall I say it?) we do have a lantern to help light the way, in these deep, dark , creepy woods. No matter what tomorrow brings what I do know is this: We are not alone and in times such as these even the smallest of light can cast a large circle of hope!