“You have got to promise me you won’t pray, asking that he doesn’t get the job and we don’t move. We are miserable here and need to leave.”
Those words stung as my best friend spoke them. She said it with pleading in her eyes. I looked at her wanting it to be a joke. But knowing that she needed me to let her go. I had noticed for weeks she had been pulling away. Finding less and less time for me. It was on my mind for days. Finally,I prayed but not the way I would normally have prayed. I prayed for understanding and strength. I realized that I needed to let her go. I had to quit being selfish. She was not mine to keep in a town she wasn’t happy in. She had a husband and children to think about. So, I let her go. I cried when I told my husband it was time for me to let her go. I had never had such a close friend. Someone I knew I could share everything with and she would never judge me. She was a friend that would love me through the times I was unlovable and remind me when I needed to be a better person. She comforted me when I doubted. She and her family taught me so much about loving unconditionally. She helped me to learn to let my children be who God wanted them to be, not who I thought they should be. She helped me see how important it was to be a loving wife. Her time with me was done. God sent her to me. I believe that with all of my heart. I watched her give things away, pack things up and there would be resentment, I prayed it away. There was anger, I prayed it away. She promised me that our friendship would not change with the distance. I prayed this was true. And it has been true. She is still my closest friend 861 miles away. We haven’t seen each other for two years. but every time we pick up the phone it feels like we are sitting at the table together.
This was the first bit of news I was to receive that would send me on a downhill spiral. At this time I had been running for two years. I felt like I could accomplish just about anything. I had a new wardrobe. I felt comfortable in my own skin. My faith was on fire. I had no idea what was about to happen in my life. There was no preparing for it.
“I still cannot believe Makayla and Sean are going to college!” seemed to be part of every one of the conversations between my sister and I for months. My sister’s daughter Makayla and my son Sean are only months apart in age. Sean, born in November then came Makayla in March. Now they were going to college! Both my sister and I were struggling to come to terms with it. So scary. The thought of them leaving us into a world we couldn’t protect them from. Graduation parties, plans for moving them to college, where was the money going to come from. But we got through it, but not without other things to deal with.
Out of the blue my sister called me at work. This never happens, I mean never. She texts. She emails. But she doesn’t call. So I new this was important. I tried to play it off as normal. “I have something I need to tell you” she said. It felt like my heart jumped into my stomach. I felt sick. I knew something was wrong. I didn’t want to hear what she had to say. “A while back I found a lump in my breast” she said. I said “ok” I sounded all calm. But inside I was a mess. How could this be, she is so young. She has already been through so much and now this?!? She said she was waiting for the results of the biopsy and would know later in the week. I said ok, well its going to be benign. Your too young for it to be cancer. No worries. It seemed like an eternity for the call to come that week. She called me. Again, with the phone. I knew it wasn’t good. She said “it’s cancer, I have to have to go in and talk to the doctor”. Later than month we knew that within a week of taking the kids to college she would be in the hospital have a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. But God is always with us. Everything went great. She had the surgery, recovered well and didn’t have to do any treatments. God is good!
I had been running intermittently. it was getting harder and harder to keep a schedule. There was so many things going on it was getting harder and harder to take care of myself. I kept thinking things will slow down. I will get my groove back. Meanwhile, my best friend was getting settled in her new home, my son and niece were off to college and my sister was home recovering from her surgery. It was now November. I was at lunch with my mom. She tells me she is waiting for a call from her doctor about some testing she had done. They were worried with her symptoms that she had MS. We were in the middle of our all you can eat salad bar when her cell phone rang. I could tell by her demeanor it wasn’t good news. She hung up her cell phone and said, “I have a brain aneurysm.” I remember thinking “a brain aneurysm and we are sitting here having lunch, shouldn’t we be at the hospital??” I finally said “well what are they going to do?” I was just shocked that she just kept eating her salad. She said, “I have to go talk to the doctor.” There is nothing more infuriating than to be told of some grave illness just to be told ” I have to go talk to the doctor”
It wasn’t long after that my mom had her brain aneurysm surgery. Everything went great. I don’t remember exactly how long the surgery was. It was hours, but I don’t remember how many. She went home and recovered well.
It literally felt like someone took my life in one of those snow globes and shook it up. Everything went everywhere. But there came a time when everything settled down. Everyone was doing well. Everyone but me. I quit taking care of myself and the weight had crept back on. The low self esteem returned. The running stopped. Any exercise at all stopped. I got so busy taking care of everyone else I stopped taking care of me. I knew then what I know now and that it was important to take care of myself. I just couldn’t find the energy to do it. I am still struggling to find the energy to do it. Finding the courage to start over again. Finding the courage to find the thing that I lost, myself. Wondering if I start over again, will it all fall apart around me again?
This is part 2 of a 3 part series. You can go back and read part 1 here.