Hope and Loss
In July, I bought Pete a weekend at Brian Tome’s Man Camp in Cincinnati, OH for his birthday. He was really excited about it, especially because a close friend decided to go when he found out Pete was going. We were starting to look at gear, then started corresponding with his small group members, and were looking forward to his experience there. Then on September 28th, on a follow-up appointment with his radiologist, it was decided that Pete needs to have radiation the week of Man Camp. Then, today, we were notified that Pete will not have chemo tomorrow or the next round because of having radiation.
This scenario brings up one of many times that we have encountered loss and needed to grieve and process it. Some losses with a cancer diagnosis are big and heavy and some seem “small” but may also negatively impact you. Loss is loss is loss.
Some examples of the loss are:
Not being able to be as active as I used to be
Not having the job I had prior to diagnosis
Not having the relationships or same kind of relationships that I had before
I am more emotionally exhausted
It feels like a lot of our day is spent talking about cancer and we used to have a lot more to talk about
Whether the battle that you’re facing is cancer or something else, we all experience loss. My encouragement today is to spend time thinking on and giving yourself time and grace to deal with all of the feelings associated with it.
Some ways that I’ve seen others process loss are:
Talking with a friend/loved one
Walking or other forms of exercise
Allowing yourself a small timeframe to focus on/perseverate on that loss but then getting up from it and moving on with your day
Making voice memos on your phone
Saying no to things that are distracting you from what you need to be thinking about
Before cancer, I gravitated to some of the below behaviors but in the desperation of needing to take care of myself mentally too, I have found them to be very destructive and hurtful. Both to me and others.
Some things that don’t work are:
Letting the emotions fester and affect you negatively
Taking out your frustrations on others
Filling up your day with distractions
Putting up walls
We Have a Choice
Loss is a part of life but we have a choice of how much power we give it. Part of choosing how much power we give it happens with actually acknowledging and processing the emotions. Taking the elephant head-on but then also choosing hope. Hope that the elephant doesn’t have the final say. That the elephant is big and overwhelming at times, but hope can still our focus. Realistically dealing with loss helps us hope more and persevere more. Avoiding the emotions that come with loss will only make matters worse. We have a choice in the matter.