After what happened to Calum, there has been so much about life I’ve contemplated, with fragility at the forefront. Now that Mike and I have lived through such incredible fear and pain watching our baby battle cancer, I’ve wondered what more from life we might be asked to endure. We are still so young in the grand scheme, which makes it all the more scary knowing there is so much time for future difficult and painful events to occur and, deep down, I question If I will have the strength to face them. The truth is, however, there are absolutely zero guarantees, as I have so harshly learned, and the only thing one can do is sack-up and take the rest of life head on, even when it feels like too much. In the event I am presented with another seemingly impossible obstacle, I will once again put one foot in front of the other, until I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
This fear which life has bestowed on me has been inhibiting, at times, to say the least. I sometimes feel like a Labrador Retriever on a walk to the beach; I am trudging through deep sand with a short leash clipped to my collar on a mission to reach the ocean. I’m gasping for air, nearly being choked to death. I am so uncomfortable, but I forge onward toward the waves until I am close enough where it is safe for my owner to finally unleash me, so that I might not trample over people or their belongings; so that I might freely take three giant leaps into the ocean and be allowed to feel the incredible rush of the cool water run over me. I keep waiting for that.
I’ve long been in this “trudging through the sand being choked” phase, but recently have had a massive realization: I am the owner. I am the one who has not unclipped the leash. I am the one pulling myself back from the water, waiting and waiting to get past all the objects that lie in my way. I have constructed these fictitious hazards on my metaphorical route to the ocean. I have imposed timelines and benchmarks at which point it would theoretically be OK for me to come off of my leash and feel free to live life again…for instance: when Calum gets his port taken out, when Calum finishes treatment, when Calum is officially cured five years post-treatment, when Faye goes beyond the age where Calum was at when he was diagnosed (age 3 yrs, 1 mth) so I might be fully convinced this is not hereditary and will not happen to her, too. This is all completely absurd, for the record. I have no logical, scientific reason to believe anything but the best for both Calum and Faye at this point and, incidentally, if Faye was predisposed to Leukemia for some very unlikely reason, there is no telling when or if she would ever present.
I allow my mind to be controlled by fear instead of logic and am constantly striving to reach a place of security, which doesn’t exist. What’s more is that, truthfully, this futile exercise has nothing to do with Calum’s cancer, but everything to do with myself. I don’t intend to downplay the effects of what we have been through but I know, too, that so much of my fear and anxiety is long-term, ingrained behavior. I have historically held myself back and, though Calum’s diagnosis has upped the stakes, Calum’s diagnosis is simultaneously responsible for me finally taking steps towards realizing what I want out of life, in every realm. I suppose the silver lining is me taking action to live my life beyond my fear. I am trying every single day to allow myself to live without fear or angst and, though I have not yet taken the full plunge, I am dipping my toes into the water, and it feels a shitload better than that hot ass sand.
*this post is dedicated to our late family Black Lab, Chelsea. #gocalumgo