A woman puts her arm around another woman as both look out of a window towards a sunrise.

Sickness and Grace

Being diagnosed with lung cancer can be a roundabout feeling. The questions of what I could have done differently and questioning following the playbook only to be diagnosed regardless. As a former care partner and looking through these glasses from the other end, for many processing those many questions, I see grace through the blurry lens.

The role of grace in supporting loved ones

I’ve written previously how I’m not too fond of the word "burden", especially on the side of a person who has committed to helping their loved one through this process. Oftentimes when we put all cards on the table, it may feel like a stretch to ask for any more favors or assistance.

Well, this is where grace comes in because it is given freely. Those in this role of being their true self and even through it all understand that more unexpected hiccups may come with being a true “ride and die” partner. Some of us may understand more than others, but there is a spark of commitment and being a steward.

Recognizing the need for support

Words can try and fool many in one way, but with open eyes, you can see the pain in doing the simplest tasks. I understand the person going through this may not want to (and here’s that word again) burden others, but it must be stressed no one is truly Superman or Superwoman. We all need some form of assistance for whatever the matter may be, and the patient is clearly thinking about securing and making those around them feel comfortable.

We can see right through it, or most of us can, at least. You owe no one anything feeling the way you do, acting the way you do, and becoming this new person in grasping this news. It’s okay to just be in that moment.

I remember my mother had a few rounds of radiation as her cancer metastasized to her brain. We met up during one of her appointments, where she mentioned her hair was starting to come out subtly, and with grace and a chuckle, she said, “Well, I guess this is happening.”

Navigating the complexities of illness with strength and dignity

This hard pill to swallow hits many differently, and the playbook is not the same for all. In a short time, I’m sure my mother filtered all that comes with experiencing lung cancer in spurts. First, there are the words of the diagnoses, and then the breakdown of treatment by the messenger.

Sickness and grace reveal the composition of a person's inner and outer being, and they are both integral to self-discovery. Observing these aspects involves accepting both the positive and negative aspects. There is no wrong way to go about the experience.

Again, this is a club no one wants to be part of. The walk can feel like an eternity, and the ability to grasp some sense of dignity is all about hope, a smile, and doing things on your own timeline.

The time to fight is now, with integrity, grace, hope, and a smile...when you feel like it.

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