Healing In The Tears

The last couple weeks have been such a blessed break in many ways.  Although Chase had chemo, it was so light that he didn’t need a single transfusion!  These more “normal” days with no hospital are full of nothing and everything.  I find myself actively being a wife and mother, nurturer and teacher in a way that I haven’t in months, but I’m also finding myself often in last summer.
I’m so thankful that I was cautioned by another cancer parent or this preoccupation would have taken me completely by surprise.  The first days and months with cancer have been so intense and involve the daily fight to live and breathe on such a level that its only when I stop that I have the luxury to reflect…and feel.  The misleading thing in all of this is that I truly believe that I have felt and thought and processed as we’ve lived each second, but it’s somehow different…even more traumatic at times.  Flashes of memory often tear into my daily moments…

…that summer moment in our front entry way when I first saw Chase’s hand tremble uncontrollably

…the change in the brash ER doctor as he (with tears in his eyes) said “It isn’t good. There’s a very large mass.”

…watching the city street disappear out the door window of the ambulance as we pulled into the bay at the children’s hospital and thinking “I’m on the inside now…never on the outside of this life again”

…Bob calling me from the EEG room: “Chase is seizing almost constantly. They’re moving us to ICU. Somebody is coming to get you.”

…drawing my knees up and wanting to curl into a ball in the tiny, dim conference room as the neurosurgeon ripped our breath away with words like “malignant” and “tumor cells everywhere

…seeing my baby again for the first time after surgery and hurting for him as he -bloodied, swollen and covered in monitors- rose to his knees in the bed and angrily screamed “I want my Mommy! I want my Daddy!” and the doctors and nurses sighed in relief that he could move and speak and know and I swallowed the guilt of not knowing how to touch him and comfort him with bloody stitches covering the head I had kissed every day…

Hours after surgery

Hours after surgery

These and many others are the litany of pictures and sounds and feelings in my brain that I believe will smooth and gentle with years, but know will remain imprinted until I draw my last breath in this broken world.

This is my daily battle: to acknowledge what has been while breathing in whatever normal is now, and still entrusting to God that which is yet to come.

I will never be able to leave these traumas, but I can control how they shape what is ahead…

“I wonder too…if the rent in the canvas of our life backdrop, the losses that puncture our world, our own emptiness, might actually become places to see. To see through to God. That which tears open our souls, those holes that splatter our sight, may actually become the thing, open places to see through the mess of this place to the heart-aching beauty beyond. To Him. To the God whom we endlessly crave.” Anne Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts



My hurt memories push at it, but my soul cries for that Grace and Peace that is the only answer in all the broken.  This that I see even in the pain…at times more clearly in the pain.

And so, I move forward…

Moment by moment.

The night before surgery: monitoring the seizures

The night before surgery: monitoring the seizures

4 responses to “Healing In The Tears

  1. Frank and Jennifer Mihic

    This part of your life is a truly clear picture of suffering. Your level of suffering is known only to Christ and yourself and having entered into that level and depth of suffering you are now even more intimately acquainted with what He did for us on that cross. Your son’s cancer is a certain reality of sin in the world-sin that causes death and disease-and yet the cancer also is a portal into deep communion with the LORD. You and your family certainly wouldn’t have hand picked this but in it there is a mystery known to you only. May the sufferings and trauma that you’ve endured bring you to the next level of glory by the Spirit.

  2. Pingback: Another Cancer Day | e-family

  3. This is post-traumatic stress. Because truly, this has been trauma. For Chase, most of these childhood memories will fade. It’s you and Bob who have to process the traumatic memories!

  4. Ellie – you don’t know me, but I knew Bob at Moody and have been reading your blog since last fall. All I can say is that my heart tightens with sorrow as I read this post. It is very true that you alone know the depth of pain you have and still do experience. I can understand to a very small degree the impact of traumatic memories, and how they can continue to bring back all the emotions that went with them in the first place. We didn’t know for the first year of our daughter’s life whether she would even become our daughter, or whether she’d go back to her birth parents. I felt helpless – like I had no control over the destiny of this child I loved with my whole being. I have many memories of traumatic moments. But our present is truly at peace now, so I can only try to imagine the suffering you go through as not only your past memories, but your present and future are still so difficult. I just wanted you to know that even though you don’t know me, I think and pray for you, and I praise God for your obvious faith in Him.

    Sincerely, Larissa

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