Every time there is a holiday weekend I find myself in a slump. It never used to be this way, but it seems holidays serve as a benchmark for our life living with cancer, throwing me into a reflective mood. When the mood takes hold I am compelled to recall where we are in life and why we are here.
Last night our daughter said to me, “Mom our life is boring. My friends do so many fun things on weekends, especially three-day weekends.”
As we sat watching television, her scrolling through Facebook on her phone, I found myself reflecting, yet again. The weekend is here – a holiday weekend.
There is a reason we don’t have any plans. For many years now we have been a family whose social activities have been dictated by cancer and its treatments. Some might say don’t let it dictate, instead regain control. That sounds logical enough, but then there is reality.
What becomes difficult is when you live with the intensity of chronic cancer care for years, not months, but years, the repeated last minute canceling on planned activities results in two things happening. You stop planning because you desperately want to avoid the disappointment when you have to cancel, and in turn, you stop getting invited.
Two years ago when our family had to miss Thanksgiving dinner for the second year in a row, I swore off planning for holidays or any social events. This was after a two-year run of planned weekends, vacations, and dinner parties being routinely canceled. No matter how hard we tried to continue a family calendar of fun, it just would not happen and the intense disappointment with each missed event became overwhelming, especially for our children. Instead, I chose to focus on being spontaneous. My standard answer for invites and to the children has been, “we’ll see.”
Of course, this has not made us the ideal invitees. More importantly, I have come to realize it has robbed us of the joy that comes with looking forward to a dinner with friends or a weekend away. Some I’m sure are going to think how unfair of me. However, when something negative happens repeatedly, over a prolonged period of time, a different approach is sometimes warranted.
What has always amazed me on this path is the emotion of hope and how it can be a driving force in so much of what we do and feel. Some psychologists believe hope comes into play when things are not going well or when there is considerable uncertainty about how things will turn out. I think hope is innate in all of us and regardless of whether or not things are not going well, it’s a desire to want better.
Here we are again, another three-day weekend. No plans. Maybe it is time to plan something spontaneous.
Copyright © 2011 Jeannie Moloo. All Rights Reserved.