You can’t pour from an empty glass.
I’ve needed extra time lately to refill my cup. My loved ones have sent me thoughtful words of encouragement and special treats. I’ve been spoiled with love. A lot of the messages of have gone unanswered but definitely not unheard. I’ve struggled to respond, not because I couldn’t find the words, but because I couldn’t find the energy.
Planning my son’s birthday party has loomed in the back of my mind. It’s a day that is marked with both joy and sorrow. The day my son entered this world early for the simple fact that there was cancer on my cervix. I try to focus on the joy, burying the sorrow deep down for another day, but leading up to his birthday, I’m anxious. I still haven’t sent out the invites. Last year, planning his birthday distracted me for months while I did chemo. This year, once I found out that the cancer had returned, I just couldn’t will myself to plan it, like how I feel when my son wakes up before the sun. Can’t I just lay here for a little while longer? Maybe when I wake up, this will all be a dream.
I remind myself that these emotions are normal. Fear. Grief. Anger. Exhaustion. Often they are unseen. They lurk in the background and creep up, late at night, when it’s quiet.
Sometimes it’s hard to deal with these emotions and get dinner on the table.
But each message. Each expression of joy. Each prayer. Each laugh. Each hug. They’ve all helped me fill up my cup.
Just two days before the party, I opened the box of birthday supplies and to my surprise, I discovered that my son’s birthday had already been planned out months ago. I had forgotten. I had purchased the streamers and napkins, made most of the decorations, and picked out the cake. Of course I did. Being organized is my jam. I just had a few last minute details to sort out.
When my neighbour offered to bake the cake, I said yes.
When my mom offered to come early to help prepare for the party, I said yes.
When my friends and family offered to dice, stir, and whip up food on the day of the party, I said yes.
I never did end up sending out the invitations. But my loved ones were there, filling up my glass with support, so that my son could enjoy the innocence of his second birthday, unblemished by the fact that his mom has cancer and she has to go into treatment again.