This is a long one, bear with me.
The one thing I have learned in life is the importance of getting something off your chest. It isn't good to hold pain, fear, worry and anger inside. Not that I advocate negativity, but keeping things bottled up only creates stress and as we know stress leads to illness. I've been pretty good about letting my emotions flow with regard to cancer. I've cried both fearful tears and tears of joy. I've never found myself angry. So, when I encountered it from my son, I had to tread carefully. My son is 15 years old and high functioning autistic. He's absolutely brilliant but communicating his emotions are often difficult. As parents, we try and give him the ability to express how he feels whenever and however he wants, but most of the time, as with any teenager, the emotions are below the surface until something ignites them. The other day, he got off the bus with a friend that he had invited to the house. I was a bit shocked, because the last time he had a friend over, he was around 10 years old and that didn't go very well. This boy was very polite and a year older. Once they were settled, I pulled my son aside to explain that while I was happy he had a friend over from school (a friend that I knew of), I stressed that he had to ask permission first before inviting someone over. I explained that right now, with the cancer, I'm vulnerable to anyone who comes into the house that might have germs or viruses. Regardless of this, I would want permission even if I were 100% well. My son took it very well and apologized. They went off and had a wonderful day together and I was happy to hear him so happy. The next day he wanted to go over to his friends house. I was feeling alright, and decided to take him. Unfortunately, there had just been a snow storm and the roads were a bit dicey. We were having trouble finding the apartment and so we parked and walked around the complex. This was unnerving for me as a slip and fall could be very bad. Of course, I make know bones about my frustration. We find the apartment and no one is home. We try calling and no one answers. So, we make our way back to the car. My son is upset, but I explained that we tried. He becomes angry, but I'm not exactly sure why. My nerves are on edge, and I ask him to please loose the attitude. If he can't, I won't try and bring him back in another hour. I'm frustrated and he's frustrated. I get home and he goes to his room. I go to mine. I suddenly began thinking and after a while I go into his room to talk about what happened. Something in my gut is telling me that this is more than being upset that his friend was not home. So, I ask him if he was just angry about his friend not being home or if something else was bothering him. He begins to cry. I ask him what's wrong and he said, he didn't want to risk anything happening to me if I fell or got sick. The bulb suddenly goes off. So, I begin to explain that I understand his feelings and guess that like me, he wants normal again. He wants healthy mom and that all of this has been incredibly stressful for him. He nods, still crying and says, "I want to say something but I don't want you to get mad." I tell him I won't. He says, "It's a swear word." I begin to laugh. My son does not swear, nor does he tell a lie. I promise him that I will not get mad. So, he takes a deep breath and says, "CANCERS A BITCH!" There is a moment of silence, and I ask him if he feels better. He says no, so I tell him to say it again, only louder. "CANCERS A BITCH!" One more time I tell him. "CANCERS A BITCH!!!" He then sobs, and I say, yes, Cancer is a bitch. You are right. Now take three deep breaths and tell me how you feel. He does as I instruct and dries his tears. I ask him if he feels better. He says he does, but is still afraid something will happen to me. My son has had to witness a lot of loss at an early age. He lost a cousin in a car accident a few years ago, a child he was good friends with to brain cancer and a close next door neighbor to an unexpected death. Way too much in such a short period of time. So, it is not surprising to me for him to feel anxious about this cancer. I reminded him, as I would like to remind anyone reading this blog. The past cannot be changed. We must forgive and let go of those we have lost with love. We cannot live in a place of pain. In doing this, it does not mean that we are forgetting them, but we are choosing to let go of the pain that resides in our hearts. The type of pain that keeps us from moving forward. I am sure our loved ones would be upset if we stayed in a place of pain and misery over their loss. The future is yet to be. We cannot live for the future. We cannot worry about what ifs and fear ofs. The present is where we are right now and that is why it is called a gift. I looked at him and said, am I here right now? "Yes". Am I doing well in this moment? "Yes". Then you cannot be worried, because right now is all that matters, and living in fear is only false, evidence appearing, real.
Later that day he told his dad that he felt giddy, as if he had just won something. His dad said, "Do you think it is because you got everything off your chest and now you feel better. He looked a bit surprised and shook his head yes.
Yes, my darling boy, cancer is a bitch. For me, it has been a learning experience. Everyone feels differently, and that is okay. But, the point is to feel. Feel with your whole being. Feel it all and let it go.