Can I just say that October has to be the worst possible month for any woman to be diagnosed with breast cancer. As we have waited for test results and as we are even now waiting on the specific action plan for my mom, we have been constantly reminded of her condition. From the pink lights in the Kroger checkout lanes to the multiple advertisements on Facebook, and even watching NFL players sporting pink from their helmets to their shoes, there has been no escape.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am abundantly glad people are raising money and that with every penny we are one step closer to a cure. However, in a time of great uncertainty it is most distressing to rarely be able to escape our current reality. My method of coping is usually to pretend the bad thing isn’t happening until I can’t ignore it any longer. This month I do not have that luxury.
So, what do you do when life is hard and scary? You think outside of the box. You stretch yourself a bit. You abandon some of the norms.
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but when Jason was diagnosed with cancer we went to a local state park and had a food fight. Let me tell you, the spaghetti, strawberry syrup, oatmeal and the rest were quite the mess, but oh what a memory it made! My favorite part was walking down to the falls to rinse off with people thinking the strawberry syrup on my youngest was blood. You should have seen the stares!
So, we decided to get away with my mom for a few days before her impending surgery. We made our way down to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. I think I’ve laughed more, and harder, than I have in a long time. This was my favorite moment:
We bought my sons go-cart rides, but Austin wasn’t tall enough so he had to ride with someone. The bracelet allowed for three rides. He went with his daddy, then with me and decided that was enough for the day. Somehow, by some alignment of the planets, Jason talked my mom into riding with him the last time. I just wish you all could have seen it. Talk about joy! My mom’s hair was sticking nearly straight up when she got out of that car. I think she screamed the whole way.
Unfortunately, we can’t always go away on vacation when life gets messy. Right now I’d give anything to live in a perpetual state of vacation. We can still find opportunities for laughter and fun, though, even without any cost. I’ve found doing nice things for others makes me feel better when I’m sad. Witnessing others’ joy brings a certain satisfaction.
I find it ironic that my mom bought this shirt for my oldest just about a week before her diagnosis:
Joshua was so excited about it, telling us all about how a donation was made to breast cancer research when you bought the shirt. Who knew how appropriate it would be? But the saying is true. Never give up on finding the joy in the mess. It’s always available, it just might take a little ingenuity.