The Fallible Caregiver Series: Facing Reality With Her
Last updated: May 2023
About 4 years ago, I felt like God spoke to me. No, not an audible voice or a vision. Nothing like that. It felt like more of an impression and a strong thought, but I've walked with God for over 20 years now, and on rare occasions, I get a powerful impression of a thought coming to me from above.
It was like a father instructing his son about a critical duty he will need to fulfill in the future. It went something like this: My son, you, and you alone will need to hold her hand and walk her to Jesus.
I knew what it meant. I knew aside from a miraculous healing or a medical breakthrough, this damn stage 4 cancer will probably take my sweet wife at some point.
I am the only one equipped to make this trek
This is a terrifying thought to me. I'm not equipped for something like that. The few times where we've sat together and really pulled back the curtain of self-protection and stared reality in the face, through the tears and dread, everything in me just wants to run as far away as I can get. Yet I'm the only one in her life who can really do this with her, and in ways, I am the only one equipped to make this trek.
I'm the only one equipped, frankly, because I have to be, because everyone else in her large family is still in some form of denial, even 7 years after her re-diagnosis. It breaks her heart and pisses me off to no end.
She just wants to be close
Part of me understands their distance and denial when I try to put myself in their shoes. The other part of me wants to scream at them to wake the F up.
You don't have decades with your sister or your daughter. She just wants to be close with you all, but EVERYTHING in your lame lives is put ahead of calling her or spending time with her. You continually cause her grief and pain by stupid things you say and do.
You will not grow old together, you dumbasses, and when she goes home, you will live the rest of your lives with deep regret that you could have done so much more to help her and love her. Instead, you continually hurt her more than the cancer did.
Talking to family
I'll give you an example. My wife's older sister, who's 10 years older, recently made a rare stop by our house. We'd had no contact with her for 2 years because she is such a toxic personality, and we had to protect ourselves. However, she had attempted to apologize and reconcile with us, and we forgave her and were trying to forge a new relationship together.
So she's sitting in our living room, and we're just making small talk. My work came up, and she asked what I'd been working on. I shared a few of my projects but then mentioned our movie, A Brave Hope. From 2017 to 2019, Rebekah and I, along with a film crew, filmed a feature documentary about Rebekah's life, faith, and journey with cancer.
It's everywhere in our social circles, and it's viewable online and on DVD. I knew she knew about it. It's the most important thing Rebekah (and I) have ever done, sort of like a crown achievement of our lives.
"Oh, did you ever see our movie?" I asked.
She put her hands to her face and said, "No, I haven't. I can't watch movies like that. They're too emotional. I'll just start crying, and then I can't stop." She sort of chuckled as she said this.
You are not alone
What the… (Lord help me, I have to not vomit a cuss storm). This is your little sister who lives every day with terminal cancer, who struggles, who suffers, who hurts, who did something amazing and brave to help people understand cancer and also find hope through it, and you can't take one hour to watch this for her? Are you oblivious that you just told her how unimportant she is to you and that her pain (or achievements) are of little concern to you?
I'm sorry for this ranting vent. I'm hoping, however, that if you can relate to any of this family fuming, you can find some sort of cathartic and vicarious release through my out-rage. YANA: You Are Not Alone.
Life is relationships
I've never shared with Rebekah about what God spoke to me that day 3 years ago. It just felt like it was something for me alone, an instruction to tuck in my heart and carry out between the 2 of us. Six years ago, I walked my dad to Jesus, sitting with him as he took his last breaths. Cause of death? Cancer.
If or when the time comes for me to walk my dear wife to Jesus, I trust that if our Father entrusted me with the task, he will also equip me to do it.
Tough article to write, friends, and I know it is tough for many of you to read. Here's my parting word: Life is relationships; everything else is just stuff and things.
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