Moving and standing still

March 22nd, 2013 § 27 comments

IMG_4830The moving truck has been in their driveway all day.
Six year old Tristan came sobbing to my bedroom a little while ago.
“The truck is in their driveway. My best friend is moving. I am so sad. I’m so very sad.”

I brought him into my bed and held him as he cried, hiccuping and shaking and hanging his head.
“I know you are sad,” I told him. “I’m sad they are leaving too.”

I told Tristan that he will still see Alex again before he leaves. He can write Alex a letter before he goes and we’ll be able to call him and even FaceTime him too.
I told Tristan I know it is hard when you have a friend leave you. I explained that what he is feeling means he loves Alex a lot.

I was crying too, tears running down my cheeks onto his shirt. I was crying for his pain over having a friend move away but I confess that’s not all I was crying about.

Tristan doesn’t fully understand why this hurts me so much.
I hurt because I can’t stand the thought of it…

I cannot help but wonder: if this is how he feels when a friend moves away, how will he cope when I go away forever?

I know my family will accept my death. There is no other way. But the fact I have to spend my days thinking about these things tears me apart.

I know the impact of the death of a parent is everlasting.
I know it is something you deal with but never get over.
I hate that I will do this to my children.
I hate that I cannot ever fully have this out of my mind.

I hate cancer.
But I love my family more.

Tristan, I’m doing everything I can to make that horrible day as far from now as I can. I don’t want to die and leave you, or Colin, or Paige, or Daddy, or Nana, or Grandpa, or Uncle Mark. I don’t want to leave my friends. I don’t want this life to end, and certainly not so soon.

But when that day happens and I do die, it is more than just about being what I want.

Not everything is in my control. If it were, we wouldn’t be where we are now. Trust me.

Wanting my life to be long, wishing for it, hoping for it… these things just aren’t enough.
Cell biology and tumor features and available treatments will have more to do with the length of the rest of my life than any wishes or hopes or dreams.

But I’ll still keep those wishes and hopes and dreams, sweetheart, because I won’t give up on you.

§ 27 Responses to Moving and standing still"

  • Oh, Lisa. Gutted. Of course I don’t know what it’s like to have to think about these things ever day, but one thing I know for sure is how fortunate Tristan is to have you as his mom. No matter how long that turns out to be for. Sending you so much love. xox

  • s.a.meade says:

    Ah, Lisa, I’m crying here. Love and strength to you and your family. xxx

  • Laura Lump says:

    Your children will grow up to be beautiful and strong and resilient and resourceful and loving and compassionate and wise…and you will be with them, all around them (no, not from “up there”!!), inside them, guiding them, holding their hands, wiping away their tears…they will feel you and know you and love you. And you will love them back. I know all this is not what you want, or what you would chose; but it is what will be: They *will* persevere and, better, they will thrive. Because of you.

  • Mary says:

    Your last four posts have, again, touched me deeply. I kept meaning to comment on “Quicksand” “The Land of Topsy-Turvy” “It’s Complicated” and now this post. Thank you for articulating my anguish and validating my very thoughts.

    Time. It is the only word I think about these days. I encourage you to put your words into a book because I KNOW my family, especially my daughter, is going to need to “hear” your voice so she can keep moving forward after my death. I have bookmarked your blog and plan to steer my daughter to your poems and writings when I am not doing too well.

    Right now I am good but I know what science/biology is going to do to me over time. She is happy in her wonderful adult life (i.e. boyfriend, graduate school, youth…) But I want her to read your inspiring words to persevere and face head on my death from Stage IV MBC. So while you are helping ME today, Lisa, you will be helping a wonderful young woman get through the loss of a mother she loves deeply in the future.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you and be well today and all day, my friend.

  • Kay says:

    What is in your control right now is what kind of person you are. I watch 2 children go through this every day and am grateful their dad left them with only goodness and light and uncomplicated emotions. He does not continue to dry their tears from the other side–frankly that kind of talk makes me nutty–but the life he actually lived is a constant source of resilience and a kind of comfort. They are old enough to know you, to really know you. You get this. As Annie Lamott says, WAIT: Why Am I Talking?


  • Isabelle says:

    My heart breaks for you and your family. I feel certain that this post and your other beautiful writings will provide your family with comfort and connection after your death. You provide such an important example for all of us about staying close and connected during illness and leaving a comforting legacy for loved ones. I wish so much that my father had articulated anything like this before his passing. Thank you for helping so many of us as well as your family with your beautiful words.

  • Rebecca says:

    My heart breaks for your whole family Lisa. Kay said some good things already. You are giving them all the goodness you can right now. Your children and your husband will grieve in their own ways, and they will grieve together, but you are giving them strength to carry on.

  • Beth Falk says:

    Lisa, so beautifully said, as usual. I know all too well this heartbreaking fear – for me, the worst part of a cancer diagnosis was the thought of leaving my children behind. I know that, whatever time we have with them, it won’t be enough – but I think of you every day and hope for more time for you. Thank you for speaking for all of us.

  • Big hugs to you, my friend.

  • Meg says:

    Being there with your family physically present long term would be magnificent. We all wish that for you. But being there,right there now, and being there through your powerful writing in their future is wonderful!

  • Kristin Lyngaas says:

    Thank you for your gift of words. My mother could have used them 47 years ago when my grandmother passed away at age 50 from the spread of cancer from her breast cancer. My mother got it at age 50, and is still here. My grandmother lives through my mom in so many ways from what I am told. Nothing will ever comfort her hurt, but memories and the love between a mom and her child will live on forever. Many hugs to you and your family. All of us need to remember that we really are only given today. xo

  • Moved beyond words . . . but not beyond tears. You’ve clearly laid a beautiful foundation for your family and someday when that day may present itself, you will be far more “present” for them then you know. My thoughts & prayers are earnestly with you. xo

  • Jordan Lane says:

    Thank you for your post and reminding us all that we must cherish the time we have. Let’s beat cancer together. – Jordan Lane

  • jennw says:

    lisa-life wastes nothing; every day you are strengthening your children’s wholeness and you will always be there with them; always. xoxo

  • Laurie says:

    On a tough day with my own kids, your post helped shape my actions and reactions.

  • Pam says:

    <3 <3 <3

    Gutted that you have to think about these things, but pausing in great admiration of your ability and willingness to express them.

  • Caissie says:

    Have typed and deleted ten comments. I never know what to say. I cannot say anything that will change anything or make anything better. So sometimes, I just read, and my heart hurts, and I wish that I could shoulder the burden of your pain for a little while, so you could think about other things and do other things, even for a day. You’ve made an amazing son because you are amazing. Nothing can undo that.

    • Sue says:

      I do the same. Start and erase comments. I feel so far from what you’re experiencing, and paradoxically close too. You constantly amaze me Lisa with your gift for direct yet compassionate communication. Your kids know you love them today. And that matters so very much.

  • Frances says:

    I am always eager to read your blog because it gives me a just appreciation for LIFE. My life is not threatened by breast cancer and like most people I spend a lot of my day unprofitably, in petty annoyance, jealousy and worry.

    Your posts gives me a just sense of my ingratitude; the barrenness of my pursuits; the waste of life. I am coerced into living with renewed purpose. This is the effect of your blog. It not only benefits you by acting as a catharsis and a journal for your children but it also helps your readers to be better at this living thing.

  • I am almost speechless as I write this, but wanted to say one thing. Your family is so bllessed to have you in their lives for however long, Lisa. For you to think of them and place their welfare above all else is an amazing gift. They will always have your love for them in their hearts, Lisa as evidenced in your writings. They willl always have your thoughts recorded for them to read, your actions will be remembered, and your tears
    will forever be cherished — and nothing can erase your tireless effort to leave your legacy. Bless you and your beautiful family, and know you will be loved and by so many for your selfless gifts for a long, long time.

  • hold on to those wishes, hopes, dreams, Lisa – prayer/hope/wishes can’t hurt and, I believe, can help. Your writing gives hope to others, and comfort, and insight. Your honesty and generosity in sharing are amazing. Thank you. I remember when my mother apologized to my brother because she had cancer and was dying – & as mothers, that’s what we do, we think of our children before all else. But, your love is enough – no apologies needed. Peace.

  • Julie says:

    Lisa, I’ll admit, I break my FB lenten sacrifice about once a week to check up on you. I think of you all the time. Your thoughtful, honest, gut-wrenching posts lift me up every time. Not because they’re funny or pithy or happy. But because they are so strong and filled with the best that any person could give to another person: loving honesty. You embrace your reality with grace and perseverance, and have done more than any parent can hope to ever do for her children, by letting them know how much you love them and forming them into caring, loving people. I’m just in awe of you.

    • Lisa Bonchek Adams says:

      this was my favorite comment all week. I just love that you told me that… and that you do it. Thank you for making me smile and for the support!

  • When I was just a girl my best friend moved away… I lost a lot that day… it was harder to keep in touch then than it is now. And yet, life gets in the way, priorities change, etc. I loved that day you came to see me when I was still acclimating to motherhood. I come to “check on you” often – and every time I get caught up reading about how brave and reasonable you are. Why do I say brave? Because it’s totally taboo to tell people you’re not religious, to say “no presents” (our kids already have so much), to have the hand surgery on the birthday, to tell people not to tell you how beautiful you are. I still miss you and wish we could ride horses and wear matching sweaters and turtlenecks. I’m sorry too about having to say goodbye to Alex. I hoped he loved his card.

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