Things are changing…all at once. Our sweet old dog is gone. The big brown couch, which doubled as a trampoline, is gone. Our son outgrew his toddler bed. I closed one of my offices, my very favorite one. Someone I care for very much did not have cancer a few short months ago. I am very rarely working as a nurse practitioner these days, something I’ve done fairly obsessively, and passionately, for the last eight years.
In the wake of all this tumult, I am feeling it. My body aches. My heart feels squeezed. My head hurts. I am super-big-time sad. Sometimes, I’m holding my breath. We are hugging here in our home, lots. (Well, Ryan’s standing there sardonically while I hug him, as the kids jump all around us counting to 20.) We are having infinite conversations that start with “Why….” and reiterating the answers patiently. We are having big, massive fits. We are crying, a little bit at a time. We are working it through, each in our own ways.
So many classic truths are rolling through my mind. Following those, I’m having so many “f that thought” reactions. In the end, though, one is settling and holding things down like a paperweight. Life goes on.
We had 14 amazing years with an amazing dog. Her work here was done. The new couch, incidentally relocated from the closed office, will work just as nicely for our family sit-on-ass, nap, snuggle, read, and feel-you-next-to-me time, and we’ll probably get an actual trampoline some day. The bigger bed, for my now-bigger child, will be MUCH easier to snuggle him in. The office, well, sometimes we can’t have everything we want. I am facing the fact, maybe for the first time, that I cannot do everything I want to do, and there is a certain sense of weariness that is coming over me as I accept this. Life is feeling different. Different is scary sometimes.
And this brings us to cancer. Well. Treatment will happen. Cancer will have a fight on its hands, and our job? To be supportive. To be grounded. To be optimistic, sad, or angry, depending on the soupe du jour. We must accept that mischievous cells, as my daughter calls them, happen. Shit happens. Another classic truth! We can only hope this shizalea passes quickly. And if it doesn’t? Then – we can only hope it doesn’t cause too much mischief during its stay.
What about my trial separation from healthcare provision? This has induced serious discomfort, which has been a wake up call. Too much of my identity and purpose has been locked into my work. I’m feeling a little too awkward. So, in the spirit of embracing, I’ve been playing games in my mind, toying with formally redefining myself as a preschool assistant and yoga teacher and writer. When I did this, first, I didn’t feel worse, I felt happy. Second, I laughed, because with new clarity, I felt foolish to define myself as anything other than “Tanya.” I hope this realization sticks, because it was far lost on me. I was my work.
Today, I’m feeling the big hurt of letting go: of rigid constructs and definitions of myself, of the need for anything to be different than it is, and for any specific outcomes to manifest. I’m feeling the relief that comes with permission to grieve entirely, each of these very big things. I’m feeling the gravity of my own mortality and limitations. I’m feeling a lightness, surfacing from beneath the shedding of so much of my life at once. I’m feeling the joy of time spent, of time remaining, and things yet to come, and there will be more letting go with each passing year, so I’d better get good at it.