My title is a little misleading. The reason being is that I am not wholeheartedly committed to keeping to the topic of fear, for this particular posting. But knowing from past experience that I could trouble myself for far too long regarding a title, I decided it would be better to land on one and move on. So that is what I did.
A few updates on Cole. He enjoyed his trip to Nicaragua. He mostly ate and rested, but the climate (humidity and sun) did very well for his eyes and body. And he very much enjoyed, appreciated, and took note of the warmth of character emanating from the general populace. Which in turn, warmed his heart. He was definitely ready to come home and he has not wanted to have fish since being back. Fresh fish and fresh veggie’s, sounds like an eating utopia to me!
We have begun the VA process. What that means is they are taking over responsibility for his medical care, and we are learning the ropes between our local clinic, the Long Beach VA facility, the West LA VA, and the La Jolla VA. Why so many locations? Have a brain tumor and subsequent complications as a result and you, yourself will come to understand all the required specialists who need to be on board–and how the VA has said specialists (or specialist-singular) at one location but not another. So Cole and I get to travel a lot together and spend a significant amount of days at varying facilities. Our observation? Cole’s age group is the minority. Why? Because most young military personnel who are injured and released from service are medically boarded and have the private insurance company called, TriCare. As to why Cole does not have that advantage is another story; a story which I am saving should we decide the press needs to up the ante on the military and the decision making board…there is quite a story here, I assure you! However, and in the meantime, the VA has been most gracious to Cole. And everyone who we have been in contact with has been exceedingly helpful. And the cafeteria in Long Beach is brand new, with lots of glass and a cool industrial architectural appeal. Cole and I make for good companionship, as I don’t like to talk much nor does he. We sit and observe, help where we can, and butt out as needed.
Previous to Cole’s surgery, as I was transitioning from full-time mom, to part-time mom and full time student, one of the questions I had hot on my heels was, “what do I want to be when I grow up?” The question found no real answer because I have truly loved my position as home-maker, wife, mother, familial assistant, volunteer, and friend. So deciding on a career that could fulfill my already fulfilled self was challenging; yet I was pursuing the degree because my domestic duties weren’t producing an income. Then as certain as change itself, my path was redirected back to home (and out of school) when Cole was diagnosed with the brain tumor. And here I am again in the full-time position which has been the most rewarding of places to be. Of course, while I was fast upon my road to becoming an educated individual, I did my best to maintain the priorities of my family. Easy to do in my heart, but challenging when it came necessary to study. At any rate, thanks to the VA, I am now receiving a stipend for helping to take care of my son. A blessing that is most appreciated now, especially with Brian being out a regular paycheck (Yes, in theory he qualifies for unemployment. However, that is yet another story–one I hope will soon have a happy ending. But in the meantime…uuggg!)
Now to give credit to my somewhat misleading title…
It has been my experience, this past year, that some people are truly afraid of what life has handed our family. In a covertly perverse way, it is as if cancer (or tragedy-not that they are synonymous) is contagious. I have experienced people ‘keeping their distance’ because they cannot handle the reality of Cole’s circumstance, our circumstance. I have also had people afraid to ask me how Cole is doing, for fear the answer will be grave; as in Cole is in one–though he wishes for cremation not burial. Yesterday, one such person coyly broached the subject and then apologetically said, “I hate to even ask.” But was then encouraged by my answer, “Please ask away. And we are doing well…in this moment. We truly live day-to-day, moment-to-moment. And today all is well.” His response was positive and his hesitation to smile (in my presence) subsided.
In all honesty, I am not offended one bit by this not-so-uncommon reaction. I am saddened a little because, while staying away, they are missing out on hearing of the blessings that we live in, which of course I would love to share; and I am missing out on their friendship. So to you, the reader (because I do not have the forum to shout it out to the whole world), I say, “Don’t let fear get in your way! Of anything! Fear is a robber; a thief. It will steal away blessings and rob away joy. If you find yourself stopping short, as a result of fear, push through…and push it aside. And please, do not fear being our friend nor asking how we are. Though I realize befriending our family comes with a great deal of risk!”
And most importantly, remember–CANCER IS NOT CONTAGIOUS (though some sexually transmitted diseases, which can cause cancer, are!) …oh dear, that is one of the risks–Rivka-isms! 🙂
The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (psalm 27:1)
P.s. I could write an entire study on the Psalms and psalmist…for King David, the author of the Psalms (let’s leave it there for simplicity sake), was one complicated man…yet the Lord saw past his complications, never letting go of David and considered him “a man after G-d’s own heart”. How is that relevant to me? Just reminds me that my “Rivka-isms” don’t even scare off G-d, at least not when compared to David! 😉