“Don’t let your struggle become your identity.” Months ago, this is exactly what I was doing. It is something I still, and perhaps, will always struggle with. But as I continue down this road, I am constantly learning. Everyday is a challenge…finding a balance between the courage I know I have and the emotions that tear me apart. Not long ago I felt as if I was failing when I let the emotions take over. When they do, the flood gates open. I cry and shake with anger and rage that my child has to endure what she does. I mope and grieve for the life we all used to have. Moments like these usually puts me into a rut for several days, everyday getting better than the one before. A month ago I saw this as failure. How can I let myself fall apart when my children, both my sick child and my healthy one, are relying on me? It’s because I am human. The emotions are there to serve as a reminder that being strong is not about perfection. It isn’t about being numb to the pain that you are enduring. It’s about embracing it, allowing to feel the hurt, but choosing to overcome it. I will not cannot feel guilty for being sensitive and emotional during this. It means that I have a heart, and showing emotions are a part of strength that many do not possess.
I had set a goal, something that seemed unattainable when we first started Elena’s treatment: to learn to accept our “new normal” as we found it, but to maintain as much of our usual way of life as possible. I’m proud to say we are all doing just that. There is a learning curve…probably a giant one at that, when part of our new life overshadows something from the past. It takes some getting used to and can be a tough pill to swallow. But we are managing. More and more everyday. And acknowledging that there is no “right” way to handle this as a mother, and allowing myself to just be who I am when I am and ride the roller coaster I’m on, is a part of that management. I am not the same person that I was before this happened to my daughter. I’m not entirely sure who I will be when the worst of this is behind us. But I can say without a doubt that I’ve learned to embrace it as it comes, whatever and whoever, I may be.


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