I wrote this post just over a week ago. It turns out that the diagnosis my sister was awaiting was a positive test for breast cancer. I am posting this today as I walked through the fear of going with her to receive the results on Tuesday. I am learning that when I feel fear I must reach for a place to love myself through it and take the steps to move forward, rather than letting it paralyse me or hold me back :
I am reaching a point where I want to embrace my fear and take action and still feel hope and love for myself and everyone even in the midst of this fear so that I don’t spin out totally and loose touch with my safe ground. I also do not want to allow my fear to paralyse me like it does at times. I think the further I go on this journey the more insight into myself I obtain.
Today I felt a lot of fear as my sister had to go for a biopsy following a routine mammogram. The results will not be known until Tuesday but I felt immediately scared and began to spin out a little. I used self talk to calm myself and contain the negativity and fear that was arising. The other thing was the sadness that came up when I spoke to my sister and the realisation, after I got off the phone, that all of this is occurring at exactly the same time of year as my father was diagnosed with cancer in 1984.
Those memories are pertinent at this time of year, even though it was so many years ago. I am powerless really over the outcome of the test for my sister. I can only be there to love and support. My sister sounded so strong and positive on the phone. As we spoke she said she had been in melt down earlier, especially after she had spoken to her sons. I am reminded of the day my mother called to ask me to come and visit her and Dad and Dad had to give me the news of his own cancer. How hard that must be for a parent. How painful it was for both of us but the love that was felt too as I crossed the room to hug my Dad and he dissolved in tears.
Until the outcome of the biopsy is known I can do nothing and worry will rob my day from me and keep me paralysed. At times like this I always think of the serenity prayer
God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference
The first step is to figure out if it is something I have any power over to change. If it is not I can pray for acceptance and serenity and take active steps to put those in my day by engaging in something that brings joy and good energy for me. If it is something I can change and need to find courage for I can take a deep breath and go forward holding my fear by the hand and acting anyway.
Even if it is a negative result I know I have the resilience to cope. I was able to be by my other sister’s side in the last days of her life and accept it was time to turn off the life support and let her go. I could cry and tell her all the things I didn’t get to say to my Dad, as his death was sudden under an emergency procedure and I had been unable to visit him the night before.
Many years ago I could not work through these feelings. It took until 15 years later for them to come out of the deep freeze and numbing of my addiction. These days though I miss him, I know I have grieved. Some days I am still grieving for my sister who has died. Some days I am grieving for myself and other days for my Mum too. Grief will not destroy me. I do not need to fear it. I need only feel it and know it as part of what it means to love and face the final earthly separation.