The Strong One

Why do I take on this role?

Why do I feel that it is my job to shield others from the pain that I know they are feeling because I am feeling that pain too?

This week has been exceptionally difficult.

We found out Monday that my grandma has 10 tumors in her brain that are threatening her survival. I'm not really sure how much worse it can get. They started her on radiation on Tuesday, to which they told her she will almost assuredly be burned by the process and will lose all her hair. If they can shrink the tumors with radiation (and keep her from having seizures from the increased pressure) then she will still need extensive surgery and chemotherapy to take care of the tumor on her liver.

The vastness of this situation has hit me little by little, and the only reason it hasn't fully hit me yet is because I have thrown up my shield and put on my cape and am carrying the burden of being "The Strong One."

When my mom calls me on the phone delivering more bad news, I listen to her cry. I hear the pain in her voice at the thought of losing her mother. I want to cry too. I want nothing more than to release the pain I feel inside so it can stop eating me alive. But I hold back. If I start crying too, that will just make it worse. I tell her I don't know what to say. Instead, I try to be positive. Focus on what we can control and work towards. Be practical. It seems to help my mom gain some control on an uncontrollable situation. She seems less devastated. More hopeful.

I keep my shield up and my cape on until I walk into A's office Tuesday. Last week all I knew is that my grandma had a tumor on her liver. What a difference a week makes.

What was planned to be our focus that session quickly turned into feeling everything the last week has brought on me. What I hadn't let myself fully think about.

I spent a long time crying. At one point I felt this tsunami of emotion push itself and almost spill over. I barely held it back. I really wish I hadn't, because it is going to manifest itself in other painful ways: panic attacks, SI desires, etc. It was nice to be able to work my way through what I was feeling without worrying that I wasn't being strong enough for someone else.

I'm trying to let the emotions work their way through when they do surface, but it has been hard. It is not my norm and it is leaving me feeling extremely vulnerable.


Finding Pam said...
June 30, 2010 at 10:39 PM

Hey Lily...Thanks for leaving the nice comment on my blog. I see that you follow JBR, so do I and I think she is amazing.

I am sorry to hear about your grandmother's cancer. I will lift you and your family up in prayers.

I am sad that you feel like you have to be the strong one in your family. I was that way as well. It is a gift and a curse to always have to be strong.

Please take care and it was nice to meet you.


Paula said...
July 1, 2010 at 1:39 AM

Dear One; I am so sorry. Truly sorry. Love from FRance, keeping you and yours in my thoughts

Just Be Real said...
July 1, 2010 at 4:15 AM

Lily I am sorry that you feel you have to carry this load. Praying the Lord will be there with you and you can give Him some. I know you have been through a lot. So glad you were able to release those tears.


sarah said...
July 1, 2010 at 9:31 PM

Lily...I'm praying for you and for your grandmother....I can only imagine how hard it is for you.... (((Lily)))

Harriet said...
July 2, 2010 at 8:51 AM

I am so sorry. Cancer is a horrible disease, but people get through it. I will think positive thoughts for you and your family and your grandma.

Anonymous said...
July 12, 2010 at 1:41 PM

I'm really glad I found your blog. I think that being strong for others is an admirable talent to be blessed with, but you do have to remember to also let your emotions out to. I have problems with this as well, and I always feel like when I do, I burst with emotions and its like a roller coaster. Just stay strong.