Just Beautiful

my mom and dad and my baby brotherĀ 

So um, it turns out this cancer thing is a little bit harder than I thought it would be.

One minute I’m trucking along all practical like, getting my mom and dad’s house ready for them to come home from the hospital, and then someone has a bibliography due at school tomorrow morning and I just lose it. I can handle my husband shaving my mom’s head out yonder on the back deck but please do not look at me funny in traffic on the highway, random stranger, I just can’t deal with that.

Again, I keep going back to this concept that it’s not about me. This isn’t my journey or my story to share. I’m not the one curled up in a post-chemo ball feeling horrible, not the one going through every single food item in the free world trying to figure out the one thing I can manage to keep down. No, I’m the one up and about, buying pinestraw for my landscaping, getting new bedding for Isabel’s big girl bed.

And yet, it hits home. I realize that it’s hard to watch this — even though it’s a part of the process and there I go again having to justify why I shouldn’t be so worn thin and dragged down, it’s all just to keep mom here and healthy, it’s all a great prognosis. But it’s still hard.

A friend asked me the other night how I was doing. At first I didn’t appreciate these kinds of questions because I felt like it insinuated there was something to be doing “not good” about. And then a few weeks go by and you realize your body kind of feels like it’s in a race, one that you thought was a nice little 5K and it turns out to feel a little more half-marathon-y. Two chemo treatments down, four to go. We’re getting there, but certainly not in the homestretch.

We hit this part of the race — my mom’s race, and my dad’s race but I guess all of our race really — and now I appreciate the love and concern not just for them but for me and my family. I appreciate that people realize what it does to family members to watch a loved one fight. To be a part of the fight in a different way — it’s hard. Not nearly as hard as being the fighter, but it’s hard.

I thanked my friend for asking about me and I told here there is grace. And there is. There is a lot of grace. At the very least there is grace to not sit back and wish this hadn’t happened. There’s grace to say, this is what we’ve got, let’s put that next foot in front of the other.

And that’s what we do.

If this round of chemo reactions go like the last one, today will be the hardest day for my mom. So if you could lift her up in prayer that would be so wonderful. We really do feel the prayers. And our physical community, the people we are surrounded by right here in our neighborhood, these people are taking such good care of us. I checked on my mom and dad’s meal schedule the other day and it’s full until mid-June. My mom has friends coming and going, calling and checking on her. And my dad has his friends checking on him, making sure he’s doing okay too.

Life is indeed very good. Fighting for life is hard, but it’s worth it.


  1. Hey Rachel, you know, this internet thing is weird…I’ve met you, and I know the you that you post about, but I figured it’s ok to delurk and creep in your combox to just let you know I do pray for your mom, but I pray for you, and your siblings, and kids and nieces and nephews and spouses, too. We all need prayer, right? May God keep you all in his tender mercies.

  2. Praying for your mom, today, Rachel. And your whole family.

  3. Praying.

    Your mom looks so beautiful! When two of my friends lost their hair due to chemo, I was struck by how the missing hair served only to highlight their loveliness. So true of your mom.

  4. Rachel, I will say a prayer for your mom today. My own family is undergoing a similar cancer fight with a close family member and reading about your feelings made me understand my own emotions. I just have to love and take care of my little ones right now and serve as I can. God bless.

  5. I can’t even imagine. So hard to go through the day to day trivial decision making when there’s something so monumental going on…so immense. Much love to you.

  6. Rach,
    Don’t forget to cry every now and then. It relaxes the soul.

  7. Will pray!

    Peace be with you.

  8. Oh Rachel, my heart goes out to you. I experienced many of the same emotions as I took care of my elderly mom and my then 6 and 10 year old boys (now 9 and 13). I did lose it on a few occasions, and God bless my husband and sons who took the brunt of it. I will pray for you, your mom and your family.

  9. Amy Wilch says:

    Rachel, I’m praying for your mom and your whole family. Know that someone is Colorado is sending you hugs and will continue to pray for you.

    Amy W.

  10. Mary Catherine Henning says:

    Aunt Karen: I am praying for you, for God’s healing in you, for peace and for strength! Uncle Steve: I am praying for you because you are the stand-by man. God will give you strength and peace. Rachel, Simone, Josh, Gabe, and the rest (b/c I can’t remember everyone’s name this second): I am praying for all of you to have peace. You are a great bunch and I know you’ve got your mom! God holds her in His hands. Love to you all! God bless you in Jesus’ Name!

  11. Christine says:

    I will pray for your mom today. This is a mighty journey you are on with your mom. She is blessed to have you.

  12. Prayers…

  13. scotch meg says:

    So strange that I could not think of anything to say two days ago. But today I re-read your post and realized how much of a comfort it is – today, when I went to clean out the last furniture from the home of my second “mom” – who has moved into assisted living quarters because she has Alzheimer’s (early enough that she still recognizes and remembers me). A different kind of battle.

    Thank you for sharing yours. And prayers for your mom and your whole family.