Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Making it okay.

"The mind is constantly trying to give you advice about how to make it all okay. That is why the mind is so active; you gave it an impossible task to do." - Michael Singer, The Untethered Soul

These past few months have been some of the most physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually challenging for me and for my family. Not only must we deal with my dad's diagnosis of cancer and the road to recovery, we must also let go of who we once were and the life we once had. While life has changed a lot for my sister and me, it has changed drastically for my parents. I can't even begin to imagine what my mom is going through right now as she supports my dad every day of his journey to fight cancer. Even more so, I can't imagine what my dad is going through having to be the one to endure the stress of this situation day in and day out. In general, people say things like "think positive" and "have hope," and while I think these things are indeed of the utmost importance, I have to bite my tongue at times so as to not bite their heads off. "Have you seen my dad? Have you sat in that dialysis chair next to him? Have you felt this kind of pain before?" I want to scream, "You asshole! It isn't that simple! You have no f'ing idea!" Woah, wait a minute, Keri. You'd give the same advice to someone else! What was that reaction? It's definitely a knee jerk reaction to feel defensive of my dad, but I realize that it's not my anger at this person and his or her (actually very good) advice, it's my anger at being thrown into an uncontrollable situation. I want more than anything in the world to make it all okay, but I can't. And that downright sucks.

When going through a crisis like this, I've determined that you can have a million people around you, but you can still feel alone. Our extended family and friends have been so thoughtful and supportive, but we're left still feeling empty. Why is that? I think it's because we think that if someone could really understand what we're going through, it would all be okay. Plain and simple, they'd GET IT. But why is that even important? Why would we ever want someone to know this kind of pain? We think if someone "gets it" it will be closer to feeling okay for us, but that is just false. Everyone has been through their share of heartache, and everyone deals with it differently. To a certain extent, everyone "gets it" because they've been through some sort of enormous challenge in their own lives. Ultimately, friends and family just being there for us is what matters most. Many of my best girlfriends have actually dealt with seeing a parent battle an illness, and I can't say enough for how loving and supportive they and others have been to me as I support my dad. What I seek from my friends is just a loving heart which I know they all possess. While they can't make the situation okay, they have helped me be okay in more ways than they'll ever know, and for that, I am truly blessed.

What I've learned is that we can't expect ourselves or anyone else to be able to make situations like these okay. We find ourselves grasping for straws when life feels like it's spinning out of control. I think if we come to a point where we let go of the need to control, we will feel a bit more peaceful at least. We look inward to let go of the desire to make it all okay because it is wasted energy and an impossible feat.

While I cannot control this situation, I can control how I react and what I choose to believe. A friend wrote to me, "Being mindful doesn't mean things are less bad but that you are more capable of dealing with them." I think this is so true. I know my dad will overcome this. He is so incredibly strong and inspiring. Words can't describe the pride I feel when I think of how hard he is fighting every day. What people may not see from the outside is that he is thinking positively, and he does have hope - this is what keeps him going even on the toughest of days. What is happening is out of my control, and I will work to be at peace with that. I can't make this go away. I can't make it all okay. But what I can do is be there for my dad, love him with all of my heart, and fight with him, so that's just what I'll continue to do.


  1. Love you Ker, great post. Said perfectly. <3

  2. Keri, you and Katy both have such a great way with words. They make me laugh, cry, become angry and find hope all at the same time. Glad you have this outlet to share with us all.

  3. thanks heidi!! i appreciate that you read. a lot of emotions going on, and i find writing a therapeutic way of sorting them out. i hope you are well. thanks for all of the support you're giving to my parents! i know they appreciate it.

  4. Keri,

    This is another beautiful entry. I hear what you are saying about biting people's heads off when they tell you to feel better ... So instead I will say, may you find the strength within and from the love of your family to get through this together.