Am I really “still me”?

Lost is a place, right?

Are you there, too?

Hi, everyone! Welcome to “Lost”! It’s the new and improved place we used to call “Here”.

We don’t call it ‘Here” anymore because we’ve moved away from “Here”. “Here” is a place from afar. A place removed from what is relevant and current.

Destination: Unknown

I’m at home in “Lost”. And that’s sad.

Sad, but true.

“Lost” is both familiar and painful.

“Lost” is not that far away from “The Past” and just around the corner from “Hindsight”. It is 20/20, no?

And “Lost” is just before you get to “Far, Far Away”.

“Lost” is both confusing and exciting at the same time.

It is unknown and to some, might seem tragic.

To me, however, it’s not tragic.

It’s home.

I’m ready.

Ready to get to know my way around “Lost”. It seems that I may be here a while and I might as well get my bearings in this place.

Most of the people that live here are pretty nice. My neighbors keep to themselves, but smile and wave, if waved to.

And I do wave.

Every damn day.

The sights in this town are pretty nice, too. Old homes with character surrounded by new growth and change.

“Lost” has pretty great schools, too. With teachers that seem to actually care. Teachers that take the time to know their students by name and learning style.

The students seem to reciprocate with a sense of simple splendor. With a joy of learning! They converse in small groups out on the patio, while teachers smile their knowing smiles.

“Lost” even has a big chain Super Store!

Hooray, for “Lost”!

One day, we’ll catch up to the big city, but as of now, we’re pretty proud of our Super Store, thank you very much.

“Lost” is an easy commute to the finest jobs around. And, as luck may have it, my job, too. I love my drive to work from”Lost”. It’s a quiet and serene time that I can hear myself think. No one needs to be tended to and everyone can hear me.

I’ve found a nice niche in my little part of “Lost”. Albeit small, it’s mine.

I will miss “The Past”, but I’m not there anymore.

Now is the time to revel in the here and now and appreciate this thing we call life.

Do you appreciate life? Or do you, like I, take just about every minute for granted?

Geez, guys!

Let’s start the new year with a pact, OK?

Let’s be happy and content.

Whether we live in “Lost”, “Far, Far Away”, “Here”, “Now” or “In the Moment”.

Let us appreciate and savor every hour we get.

Every minute.

Every hour.

Every second.

Why?

Because before long we’ll be living in “Gone, but Not Forgotten” and I for one, want to put the final move off for as long as possible.

So, I will live in “Lost”.

I will love in “Lost”.

 I will be in “Lost”.

And for once, I’ll finally just be “me”…

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Everything stays the same…

Everything stays the same.

Time is passing.

Leaves are falling.

Costumed children have tricked their treat and turkeys are starting to get scared.

Yet, everything stays the same.

Chris has had two, two month check up’s since I last wrote. To be perfectly honest. I didn’t know what to say.

Everything stays the same.

His doctors are happy and we’re excited! His tumor isn’t growing.

Yes, Chuck is still hanging out in his brain. but he’s not growing.

Every single time we hear this it gets more and more hopeful.

An “all clear” at the two moth appointment means more time.

Chris, however, is struggling.

You know those steps of the grieving process? There are five and he’s knocking back and forth between steps two and four.

Anger and depression.

One day he’s happy and I see a glimpse of the man I used to know.

One day, he’s so angry that I can’t get a word in edgewise because he’s so damn mad at me he can’t see straight.

And then there are the days that hurt the most. The days that I watch that strong, amazing man crumple at the feet of cancer.

He doesn’t move.

He doesn’t talk.

He doesn’t…

I long for the “good” days.

The days that he laughs and sings in that horrible baritone that I love.

The days that the kids can joke with him and he laughs back.

But, more often than not, he has an anger or depressive day.

Now, I’m not saying he’s ALWAYS like this. I’m just saying that it’s hard to have a good day when you’re trapped in a three way cycle of happy, mad and depression.

He’s still Chris.

With his hat on, you might not know that he has brain cancer. He still looks the same. Handsome as ever!

The only things you might notice is his aphasia.

He talks with effort.

To someone who didn’t know, it’d be like talking to someone who’s distracted. Like talking to someone who isn’t really listening.

Except, it’s the exact opposite of distraction.

It’s extreme concentration.

Words are difficult and following an entire conversation takes as much concentration as he can muster.

Which is a lot!

You might not know he has cancer.

But, you do.

Other than the cycle of grief, everything is ok.

Everything stays the same.

The kids are starting back to public school and I couldn’t be happier!

Not that I didn’t enjoy homeschool, but I just couldn’t do it.

I’m good at a lot of things. Great at some. But, homeschooling wasn’t my forte and I’m ok admitting that.

So, today Doodle two started at the elementary school near our new house and Doodle one starts Monday in middle.

Ugh!

Where has the time gone?!

I’m sure they’ll love being around more kids their own age and I’ll enjoy being with Chris ALONE on my days off.

What’s that like?

I forgot.

We moved to a new town and although it’s only a county away, I’m tee totally lost!

I’ll find my way.

Right now, I know where the schools are and the gas station.

It’s weird to be in a new town.

A fresh start.

Will we meet new friends?

Will we enjoy and become comfortable here?

I hope so! I certainly do.

That’s that!

Chris’s two month appointment went so well. Although, his brain is still swollen, it has gone down exponentially in the last few months.

Although weak, he has the ability to get stronger.

His will to fight is still there.

And, although dealing with the tremendous burden of grief, he is doing well.

The kids are starting school and they are nervously excited! They don’t seem as scared as they were before and my heart is happy to finally see them enjoy education again.

We are ok. We are together and enjoying what it feels like to be a normal family. We are happy with the notion that we get more time. We are starting to remember what it felt like before cancer entered our lives.

But, it did.

Everything stays the same.

Reevaluate your NORMAL

What is normal?

What do you consider normal?

Are you normal? Are your friends and family normal?

What qualifies, y’all?

If I’ve learned anything in the last few weeks, it’s been that normal is a frame of mind. If you put yourself in the “box” of normal, you’re not living life the way it’s supposed to be lived. You’re confining yourself.

Normal is a definition. Are you a definition? Can you be defined? I think you can’t. I believe you are more than one word.

I am.

And with that said, we aren’t normal.

And come to think about it, I’m not sure we ever have been.

Chris has had a very hard four weeks. We, as a family, have had a very hard four weeks. I don’t think when we started this cancer journey that we could’ve ever been prepared for what was in store. I think we thought that Chris would have surgery, have a few weeks of healing and we’d go back our “normal” life in as much time.

We couldn’t have been more wrong, could we?

Chris has gone from having no words to now having some. He can almost speak in full (albeit short) sentences. His pain is managed well and his meds have titrated down to a tolerable amount. I’m not having to wake him up every two hours during the night to give him anything, although sometimes I still set my alarm just to check on him. It’s like having a newborn. If he sleeps too long, I worry. If he doesn’t sleep long enough, I worry.

Basically, I worry.

Day and night. He’s had so many things go wrong since his surgery that I feel as if it’s my duty to protect him from any and everything. And I do. I do it because I want him to be healthy. But, I also do it because I want him to be happy again. I want to see his smile and know that I put it there. I want to feel his embrace and know that there is strength in those arms. I am giving him my strength right now. Willingly and without a second thought. I give him everything that I am in hopes that he will return to me with that gorgeous smile and a heart full of hope and love.

He’s my foundation and he is everything to us.

But, is he normal?

The doctors have said so many times that his post op infection wasn’t normal. Well, it seems pretty normal to me.

They have said that his speech delay isn’t normal. Again, it seems pretty normal to me.

What I’m getting at is that normal isn’t normal. It’s just a word that people use to remain comfortable. Staying within the “norm” means that everything isn’t changing and you’re stagnant. Should you be content with stagnant?

I would never wish what I’ve been going through on any other soul. I’d never wish what Chris is and will go through on another person, but I would wish that you would look at your life in a new way.

Don’t be content with normal. Pain brings about change and if you’re changing, you’re moving towards a higher sense of being.

The strength that I’ve had to muster in the past few weeks has been exhausting. But, it has honestly come from somewhere, deep within me, that I didn’t know existed. If anyone had asked me even six months ago, if I could do what I do, day in and day out now, I’d have said absolutely not. I didn’t think I had it in me. I didn’t think that once my foundation was ripped out from under me that I could build my own. Quickly and without a second thought. I would have laughed in their face and said that I’m not good enough.

But, I am.

I’m not who I was. I’m not normal anymore.