I’m still learning not to have expectations. I’d hoped that by now, over a week after Chemo #4, I’d be starting to feel better, stronger, but I haven’t. I can tell that the thrombosis is improving, but I’ve felt especially weak and have felt faint several times the past couple of days. My blood counts are low, and my blood pressure is low. Those are both side effects of chemo. A kind nurse friend is giving me the blood-thinning injections daily, and I’m learning to be less afraid of needles, but I’m not doing well with feeling so weak. I’ve always valued strength, and this journey is making me realize that there’s a lot I need to change in that attitude. Sometimes I’m not strong. I don’t feel strong now. I’m not giving up or losing hope that the end of this part of my journey is return to health, but it’s certainly a new experience to be so dependent on others. My sister is postponing her return home to New Hampshire until I feel well enough to stay alone, and I’m so very grateful. Though I know she doesn’t mind staying with me as long as I need her, it’s hard for me to reconcile with that. I feel guilty. She and I talked about that, and I wonder if it’s human nature, something that most people feel. Or if it’s something that got engrained in me when I was young. Well, I do know it comes from far back in my past, further back than when understanding came, and that’s why I wonder if it’s human nature.
Whatever the source, I know I need to let go of it. To let go of guilt and wanting always to be strong. To let myself need. And not to feel ashamed of that. I have so much evidence of kindness and caring from so many people, too many to name or wrap my thoughts around. I can’t list all of the things that people have done for me or have offered to do. There are so, so many, and I do feel much gratitude for all of them. Maybe it’s good I can’t remember each kindness, because a part of me thinks I should keep track so that I can repay everyone. But that misses the point of kindness. People have offered the kindnesses freely. What they offer me is grace. If I could truly see and trust grace, I wouldn’t be struggling with feeling weak, feeling guilty. The best I can do right now is to say thank you to all of those people, starting with my sister. I appreciate all of the ways that grace has touched me through so many, many people. I appreciate how it continues to touch me. And how it is gradually wearing away my defenses so that I can have an open heart, one that is open to grace every day, every hour, every moment. And how I’m learning that grace involves letting go – of expectations and so much more.