As a matter of fact, pancreatic cancer is the perfect dance of fear and suffering.
For anyone who has walked this road, I can feel the nod... you've been there. Fear and Suffering are ever present on this journey.
The sagest of advice would be to not borrow trouble from tomorrow. Good Advice. Just not practical when you've been handed a pancreatic cancer diagnosis.
Mom struggled with debilitating pain in her upper abdomen for the duration of her cancer battle. At times it was under control with pain medication, but too often, we were chasing down the next comfort measure and pressing her medical team for stronger perscriptions...
Which led to the cold panic of fear as we struggled all the more against the claws of this brutal malignancy. When a loved one is in pain and the diagnosis is terminal, an all-consuming fear can just overwhelm...
I wish I had the magic bullet to confront and resolve the painful effects of Fear and Suffering. What I can share, are the thoughts and reflections that helped us survive the nightmare we were living...
First, and by far the most important, would be the grace by which mom handled her terminal diagnosis. She was the rock we rallied around, and her strength multiplied many times over as we fell apart in so many ways.
Mom led the way in the Blessings of Gratitude and taught us by example. Her choices continue to guide us to this day...
We also learned from the friends and mentors God placed along our journey...
One in particular gave space for the struggle. Iva May. Her devotions touched a tender spot as we walked this road.
"Suffering confronts people with the fragility of life and forces them to evaluate their theology."
And then she challenged our response...
"They either respond in bitterness toward God (she called this the Pride of Entitlement)
They trust Him to accomplish His redemptive purposes (this she called the Humility of Surrender).
Shaking down the complex to simple choices and a summons to action.
It was Lisa Harper who reminded us that "Some of our greatest miracles lie on the other side of a river of tears."
Profound Permission to feel the sorrow and own the grief that began the day pancreatic cancer came home to lay siege on our family.
And Hallowed Grace to receive the miracles given... for when healing was not found in this earthly place, we were gifted the sacred space with mom to share moments of love and wholeness that have been cherished more than all the tears that fell during her grievous battle with that formidable foe.
Finally, an encouragement from Pope Paul VI that puts a perspective of Hope in all that we do...
"Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows."
And we don't need to be Borrowing Trouble from those Tomorrows!!
That's Truth... and Grace... for tonight,
My Love, Always,