the story continues

I have long been silent on this blog, for a number of reasons. I could say that it’s because life got busy, and that would be true, but it’s more than that. I guess the main reason is that I was starting to get overwhelmed by how much everyone tends to overshare on social media, and I wasn’t sure that I wanted to do that anymore. I love the idea of having a place to record my thoughts and dreams and random sillyness. I also love having a creative outlet – my job is not a creative one and sometimes I feel like it saps the creativity right out of me. What do I? To sum up: copy edit. There are stringent grammar, style and punctuation rules that need to be adhered to, and at the end of the day, I no longer want to be sitting in front of a computer. Particularly when the rest of life needs to be attended to.

Throughout the past couple of years of radio silence, I have started drafts of posts, but I have never gone back to complete them, never quite sure how to express what I have wanted to say. This past year and a bit have been, well, hard. My sister has cancer. Even typing those words brings me to tears.

I have sat beside her through the worst of her days, I have done the talking in doctor’s appointments when she couldn’t find the strength to speak, I have watched over her while she slept fitfully after her days of chemo and radiation. And when the treatment was over, I have tried to be someone she can turn to with her frustrations, fears, and general randomness of life.

There are many days when I feel like a part of my soul is cracked from the emotional strain of this past year. Particularly because while I strive to be the rock that my big sister requires, I am also the the mom to two beautiful, very young, boys who need me to be their comfort and support while they find their way through life.

Here’s the thing: even though I have sat with my sister at countless doctor’s appointments and I have learned all that I could about her type of cancer (squamous cell carcinoma of unknown primary), I am realizing more and more as each day passes how separate I am from her. We are walking together through this path, and we are both nervous and scared, but it is her life that has been altered forever. No matter how much I want to help and support her, and even though I fully understand what is happening to her body, I will never really know what is happening in her heart and in her mind.

I am deeply wounded by living through this with her, but I am merely a bystander. There are many days when I want to let my fear and sorrow consume me, but I can’t. We don’t know how many months or years she has left of this life, and that is so hard for me to grasp, but I’m sure that it’s even more devastating to her and her children.

While she prepares herself for the possible surgery to remove what is left of a tumour, I am still living my (ever-so-slightly mundane) existence and planning for the future. So here it is: I also feel guilt and plenty of it. She is facing months of recovery, and possibly losing some mobility, while I consider what colour to paint my bedroom walls. It’s an awful thing. And I wish someone could tell me that everything was going to be just fine.

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