Why are you happy?
I was recently asked “why are you happy, and how do you remain happy?” The truth is, I have to work on Happiness every day of my life. I did not intend on being diagnosed with late stages of breast cancer, or the side effects that followed. I thought at the time it was a joke, I was still going to continue training for that Marathon I always wanted to run. To me, I was happy, after all I had the life I always dreamed of, stay at home mom, room mother for all 4 of my children’s classrooms, loved driving the girls to dance and Blake to baseball. My life was surrounded with good friends, and a wonderful family.
I have always been a runner, kick boxer, cycler, core trained and weight lifter, this was my life and I loved every second of it. The day I had to listen to a doctor explain to me what type of cancer I had I did not respond, Eric was crying it was such a blur, why was he crying? This is not real, we will get a second opinion and of course I will continue to train because this is not real. Even now when I look back at that day, it amazes me how I responded, no tears, no emotion at all. Blake was at the airport flying up to Utah to see his girlfriend Lecith, and Kaitlyn was living in Utah going to school and loving life, she had found the man of her dreams and I could not be happier with her choice. Eric called Blake and asked him to come home, he wouldn’t, he told Eric to just tell him what was up. When Eric told him, he was angry thinking we knew for awhile and just didn’t tell him, I explained to him the doctor had just told me I had no idea….we did not hear from or see Blake for a week, he went to Utah and would not answer his phone. We then called Kaitlyn to tell her, and she reacted just like I did, no emotion–however, Brian told me later that she was really upset, maybe she thought like I did, this was just a little thing that was going to go away. Kayla, Jeremy and Haleigh met us at the house and I remember Eric standing at the kitchen sink, the kids and I were sitting at the table, I just said it “I have cancer” immediate silence entered the room. Kayla started to cry, Eric was still crying, Jeremy was in a sullen mood, not sure how to react, but asked if I wanted a blessing. Haleigh, she was and is my baby girl, this announcement could not have come at a worse time for her, it was a week before her senior year of High School.
Since that day I have had to learn to smile with my eyes, and listen with my heart. I had no idea what was about to explode in our lives as the Villain took over. The “things” that were so important to me, suddenly were insignificant. The first 3 years I never went one minute of my life without thinking about the Villain, every appointment, bone scan, MRI, and test that was written out on my Mayo Clinic itinerary gave me anxiety. I still get anxiety when I step off the elevator onto the 3rd floor of the Mayo Clinic, I can smell the chemo, the sickness is in the air.
Tonight, I just can’t sleep my mind is racing, I feel unprepared for this trial I am having now. I need some calmness in my life. I just want to fall asleep and be with Eric’s mom and Dad, dream of being in a safe place, with no pain, no hurt and in the arms of people who unconditionally love me. I have to remind myself everyday of the many blessings I have. I see my reflection in the mirror and want to cry. I don’t expect anyone to truly understand. Now, I have to learn to accept the person I see in the mirror, and remember to smile with my eyes. I loved Elder Holland’s talk about depression, I have read it over and over again. Depression is REAL, if you have ever experienced it, you know what I am talking about. When Robin Williams took his life recently, so much discussion on how selfish he was. I know I cannot completely understand his reasons, my heart was with him, how well he hid his depression and made us all laugh, while he was struggling with his own demons.
I don’t think a person can actually go through some of the things I have endured and be unchanged. So I say to the people who feel discouraged and mis understood, have faith, hold onto the knowledge you have of Hope for a better day. I loved when Elder Holland said “above all, never lose faith in your Father in Heaven, who loves you more than you can ever comprehend” It’s amazing to me that the love He has for us never leaves, He will always love us, that love is unconditional. I so wish I could say I am happy all the time, that simply would not be true, I struggle with it daily, but know it is a choice and it feels better than being depressed.You can wake up everyday and decide to make the most of the life you have been given. It does not necessarily mean changing your world, but changing the way you look at it.