On Grief, Fear and What No One Ever Told Me

I have been more emotional in the past few weeks than I have been in a long time.  As it seems we are slowly inching our way out of the COVID crisis, with the light at the end of the tunnel getting brighter every day, I am also barreling headlong into the ten year anniversary of my tumor surgery.  Both of these things should be reasons to celebrate.  I know deep down there is a part of me that wants to be throwing confetti and popping champagne.  But that part of me is buried way deep down under a boulder of emotion so big it sometimes feels like I can’t breathe.  

In my quest to clear away this boulder, to find a way to let that part of me that wants to celebrate life and all it has to offer, I have been reading more than ever, and in the process, I came across this quote:

No one ever told me that grief felt so much like fear.

C. S. Lewis

Suddenly I had a name for what I was feeling; grief.  

I feel grief over the fact that my daughter’s first year of life is enmeshed with all ofl the awfulness of my diagnosis, surgery, and recovery.  I feel grief over my damaged facial nerves that make half my face constantly feel like it’s fallen asleep.  And I feel grief for the fact that I can’t go back and not be that person who’s faced a health crisis; that the certainty in believing that my body wouldn’t, or couldn’t fail me at such a young age was taken from me.

I have grief for all that has transpired over these past 18 months as well.  Like everyone else on the planet, I am grieving all that we didn’t get to do, all the family and friends we didn’t get to see, all the celebrations we didn’t get to have.  And most of all, I have grief for the fact that my kids now know what it’s like not to be able to have certainty in their lives.  

All this grief has been tumbling around inside me for so long, it’s grown and morphed from tiny little pebbles into one giant boulder.  The aforementioned boulder of emotion that sometimes makes me feel like I can’t breathe.

Now that I have a name for my feelings, I can also start to work on dealing with all those feelings and emotions.  I can find a place and a space to grieve.  But I can also find a place and a space to remember all the good that has happened over the last ten years.  The good that has come from the tumor, and the good that has come from our seemingly never ending lockdowns over the past eighteen months.  And I’m certain that as I start to see more of the good and less of the grief, the fear and the sadness will start to ebb and the part of me that wants to celebrate this glorious messy life will dawn anew.

One thought on “On Grief, Fear and What No One Ever Told Me

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  1. Hi Nancy,
    Sorry I am responding to your post so late. I’m feeling sad for you that you are still trying to find a solution for your feelings. It has been a long 10 year struggle. I once told you that you are too hard on yourself. You don’t have to be perfect. You can still work on the scrapbook for Melanie. There will be lots of time to finish it in the future when the kids are older and you won’t be driving here and there and participating in all their school activities. You have been through an awful lot with that brain tumour. It is hard not to think about it when you have to have ongoing tests and wait for the results each time. I think that maybe you tried to be too strong at the beginning and didn’t want to let your guard down with family or friends. I tried to do the same when I was going through my breast cancer journey. Still working through it all. It finally got to me when my treatments were over. I suffered from anxiety and didn’t want to leave the house without Eric. I had the fight & flight symptoms. It was just like get me out of here. Eric called Dr. Schooling and went with me to see him. That was 21 years ago. What you have been through is horrendous and being so young and just haven given birth was traumatic. Eric and I both admire you. Maybe seeing someone would help you cope with what you are going through. Reading books help but talking it out with someone is better. I hope I won’t be in the doghouse for suggesting this. You’re still so young and have a wonderful family, you deserve to feel good.

    Sent from Lynne Hotson’s iPad


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