I Laugh to Keep From Crying

I often get told about how brave I am, how strong I am, how well I handled the cancer, surgeries, chemo, and now life after it all.

The truth is – I haven’t handled it well at all. I just don’t let that side show; I smile often even when I want to frown. I greet people I encounter with a friendly salutation even though I want to just stare at the floor or look past them and pretend like I am invisible. I make jokes about everything to keep from crying. And sometimes – a lot of times, actually – in the privacy of my own home, I shed a lot of tears.

Inside my heart hurts a lountitledt. I went through one of the most traumatic experiences of my life – I was so sick and my body was rejecting everything, I really thought that I was going to die – and I felt so alone. There were some unfortunate family issues that caused my sister – my best friend – and I not to talk at all during all of my chemo and even up until a few months after I was done with my treatments. Other family members followed suit and I had almost no support. My friends in the area that I live in – some blatantly couldn’t be bothered; others honestly didn’t know what to do or say.  Because the falling out with my sister happened because I was asking for help (via an online service) I was scared to death to ask any of my friends for help, or to just come sit with me. Because my own family turned their back on me during the worst time of my life because I asked for help … I figured anyone I asked would do the same.  I had to deal with everything completely alone for months. Do you know what laying alone for weeks at a time with no one to talk to, literally feeling like you’re going to die and no one so much as sending a text to check up on you feels like?  I can only pray you do not and never do. It destroyed me mentally.  I have lost all self-confidence. I used to be this brave, outgoing, strong woman. Now I am this frightened lady who second guesses every decision because I feel like a failure.

I do not want to go into details and I’ve avoided writing about this until now, but my heart aches so much because of this. I felt so abandoned and with the exception of a VERY few people who actually showed up – I fought this disease alone. I am frantically praying every night for inner peace – for God to grant me the ability – the strength – to put this all behind me and look forward, to forgive, to find my joy again.

I’m so thankful that my sister and I are now speaking again, I missed her and my nephews so much.alone My friends around me, we’ve spoken and in some cases even hung out. I smile and pretend that everything is ok, like I do with everything else. But there’s only so much you can bury until you run out of room. I have run out of room and the longer I have acted like it didn’t happen, the worse I am. I have decided that it really is time to speak with a counselor.  I laugh to keep from crying, but I am tired of pretending like I am fine when I am not. Physically, I have so much healing left, emotionally – I haven’t even begun to heal.

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