Wednesday, April 16, 2008

True Confession Time.

Okay. I have this post that's been "brewing" for a week or so. This may be more than some of you want to know, but since the very beginning I've really tried to "keep it real" on my blog. And writing is incredible therapy for me. So here goes...

I "fell down" a couple of years ago. I know that's not a technical term, but it's what I call it. I didn't see any doctors. I never was diagnosed. I never went on medication. But I fell down. Whether or not it was an actual case of depression, I'll never know. But it wasn't good.

Biggs was in the middle of two HUGE deals with work, and I never really knew where he was. He was in Connecticut or NY or at the office or wherever -- his precious secretary, Billie, was my lifeline. She could find him anywhere, anytime. And I needed that. But there was a lot going on. Okay. Even I have limits to what I can share in a blog.

But I fell down.

It was August. The girls had just started preschool for the year. I would get up in the morning, take them to school and come home and get in bed. Sleep all day. Pick them up, come home and get in bed. About 4:00, I'd get up and dressed and get the house clean and cook dinner. If Biggs was home. He never knew.

I thought maybe I had the flu. But in hindsight, I fell down.

And it lasted a couple of weeks. And then Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and all these people needed help. And I pulled myself up by my bootstraps and went to work. AND God blessed me through the entire process with a testimony that I love to share.

But do you have any idea how hard it is for me to admit I fell down???

So here's the deal. It's not happened again. But I live in this constant state of awareness of what CAN happen. Biggs now knows about it all, and when he's travelling a lot or when I am sick (which isn't often!), he's on top of things with his concern.

After what I went through in the last year -- a vital friendship that was struck a blow, and the move to Houston, and losing my mom.... I didn't fall down again. And I know that my walking had a HUGE role in that.

But I got close. Not during all that -- after. After we had done the walk and Suzi and I had flown to LA and had that awesome experience. But being immersed in the realities of breast cancer for two weekends straight was a lot. And when we got home, I struggled with that. AND I walked. AND walked. And managed to keep my head above water.

But in those two incredibly powerful back-to-back weekends we met Steph. She was very upfront with us. Her breast cancer had spread, and last March doctors had given her 10 months to live. Ten months. And she was on month 8.

None of us wanted to believe that. That just didn't seem right. Here we were meeting this new friend, and she was "supposed" to leave us in a couple of months? How is that fair? Here we were making these life-long bonds and her life-long part was going to be that much shorter? We just weren't ready to accept it. Steph had way too much life and vitality and love and the most beautiful smile and those blue-gray eyes. No. That couldn't be the plan.

So we tried to pray her out of it. We all asked God for this miraculous healing -- a healing that would bring Him glory. A healing that would bring Steph many, many years with her family.

But it wasn't the plan.

And I've really struggled with it this last week. I blog about nearly everything, but I couldn't bring myself to blog about that. And I struggled with the "why." How could I feel this attached to someone I hardly knew? I'd only spent a relatively small amount of time with Steph -- how could this affect me so much?

But it did.

I didn't go to her funeral this week. It was Monday at 1:00. Team Talent was there in full force, with a pink ribbon shaped spray. But I wasn't there. Monday was a crazy day here. Kait had piano at 4:30; Abbie a softball game at 6:00. And I needed to be here to make it all happen.

So Suzi and I were going to go up Sunday for the visitation. And then I found out about Amy's colon cancer, and I decided we should tack on a visit to her as well. And we'd "do lunch" with the Team Talent crew while we were up there. We would leave at 8:00 that morning and be back at 10:00 that night. If everything went smoothly.

I started baking. Isn't that the Fluvanna way? Mom's fresh apple cake and Marge Toombs' chocolate chip cake. Food is love. I wasn't totally sure what I was going to do with them, but I figured I'd just find a little old "git er done" church lady to hand them off to -- she'd know where they would be best-used.

But in the way that husbands can, Biggs let me know he really didn't think that was the best plan for our family. We've started visiting a new church, and he wanted me to be there with them. And he had double-header softball games Sunday afternoon.

And I didn't fight him on it.

I know. Me. Miss "I appreciate your opinion, and now I'll do what I'd planned to do."

I stayed home. And if I "keep it real," I have to admit I was relieved.

Because I'm afraid of falling down again. As much as I wanted to be there, it's so soon after my Mom's death, that I don't hurt as much for Steph's family as a I do for me. Does that make sense? That seeing them hurt is like looking into a mirror into my own soul? And I don't like looking there. I was scared to immerse myself in that much sad. Because falling down just isn't something I can do again.

Stephanie's reality is my huge fear -- not being able to watch my girls grow up. As much as I make of our harried lives and the shuffling back and forth from ballet to softball to Spanish to piano... I love it!!! I love being that Mom who can shuffle them all around. And I love to watch them grow.

It's not a paralyzing fear of what could happen -- but it does help drive this goal of trying to eradicate cancer. And my competitive nature just takes all that and runs with it. And I do tell myself, often, that "Fear is not from God." And I do believe that. BUT these last couple of weeks have been very difficult. With the losses of Hank and Steph, and then Amy's cancer being diagnosed.... It's been a lot.

So what am I doing? I'm doing my best not to fall down. Last Monday I began a "bikini bootcamp" kind of thing up at the gym with my trainer. There are six girls in our class. The class started with a detox diet that, believe it or not, has me feeling GREAT. And we've been working our hinies off. And it's working.

And we still need to find a cure!


TexPatriate said...


You are not alone.

We all fall down. I have myself, twice -- hard. Once in college - yay, 7 year plan ! - and once afterwards. Mine do not follow the "one day plan", either. It may be several weeks or several months. It happens. And you get through it. You feel like a stranger in your own skin.

It is not easy. It is not fun. But we are from Borden County and we are tough girls. TOUGH. We are the ones that others depend on to get them through the hardest stuff in their lives.

You raise money to fight something that is pervasive, invasive, and ugly. Ugly and awful.

I provide a set of ears to my friends where they know that they can tell me anything they need to and that I will listen. I cannot always understand, but I can always listen.

So -- never feel badly about falling down. It's only when you are that far down that you are able to see what is above you and above us all.

Michelle McMillan said...

I may not post often but you should know that I think of you and your family daily. That includes checking your blog everyday. I can't believe how much the girls are growing up. Since the day I met you I have looked up to you and you have been such an inspiration. You are human and we all fall but you have the strength to pick yourself up. Keep up the good work and yes we will find a cure. Love ya,