December 9, 2010

The Calm After the Storm

Dear Mom,

If it weren't for my swollen eyes staring back at me in the mirror, the damp tissues crumpled up in the pocket of my sweatshirt, and seeing my heartache in writing when I logged on here this morning, I would be convinced that last night was just a terrible, terrible nightmare. I can't remember the last time I broke down like that... uncontrollable sobs; unable to catch my breathe; lightheadedness; the inevitable migraine that finishes me off and finally forces me to sleep. The fact that I can still have those feelings scares me. It makes me panic. Are these feelings here to stay again? How many more nights in my life are going to get this bad? Am I going to wake up tomorrow and not want to get out of bed like that morning three years ago?

Well, I did get out of bed today. I came to work. I smiled and nodded at my co-workers' stories. I made the flyers for our annual employee holiday party. I called my doctor to get malaria pills for my international trip. I cancelled my missing debit card. The sun came up this morning, and I carried on. I feel a little empty still, but I know it will pass, and the love you gave me for 19 years will be enough to fill me up again.

I was surprised that my first thought this morning wasn't about how hysterical I became or how I sat in the bathroom crying to my roommate until 1:30am. Instead, it was: I can't believe I blogged about this. I felt mortified. It was like I was drunk off my grief and could hardly remember writing it. I guess today could best be described as the hangover, and I'm left trying to piece it all together.

I think my embarrassment stemmed from the realization that I just let my guard down and wrote in the heat of the moment. It wasn't thought out. It didn't sit in my inbox for days to be read over, edited, or rewritten. It wasn't witty, and it certainly didn't provide hope like I often times try to sneak into my posts. It was a grim reality check that not every day is better than the one before. It was just real. It was me. And you know what? I don't smile every day. I don't do cartwheels out of my bed each morning in anticaption for a fan-freaking-tastic day. The truth is, some nights I curl up into a ball hugging the teddy bear you gave me in order to fall asleep. I am one of five people in the US that won that video contest, yet I have moments when I still doubt my talents. I'm 120 pounds, and some days I look around at my friends and celebrities on TV and think I'm overweight. Sometimes I do all I can just to make it through the day in one piece. I'm only human.

Grieving makes me feel like I'm in a wrestling ring getting my butt kicked to no avail. I'm completely unable to tap out and catch my breath. It's like one second I'm standing up on my own two feet, and then, BAM; one swift kick to the gut, and I'm flat on my back wondering if this pain will ever cease. I look out and see friends cheering me on and supporting me, but there's nothing they can do to help me. It's a battle I'm fighting all on my own, and I don't know how it's going to end.

Is this what cancer feels like?

I miss you,


  1. Sami,

    It's so important to be real. Many things in life aren't edited or left to sit. I'm glad you were real - to your emotions, to the situation and to yourself. The so-called backward steps happen, but you brushed yourself off and took a tentative step forward. Good for you.

    And yes, the fighting alone with your friends cheering on from the sidelines is one of the difficult parts of having cancer.

    Keep your chin up.

  2. Sami--you are an amazing person. Your mother did quite an excellent job raising you. No wonder you miss her so much. I hope the blogging is helping you sort through things. And thank you for your comment on my blog on my bad day. We all have 'em. All the best to you.

  3. Sami, I know you're in a really tough spot right now. You're absolutely right the way you ended your blog. The prospect of waking up every day and not knowing when the pain of everything is going to be over... it's scary as hell. You handled it the way YOU were supposed to. You and you alone are allowed to dictate how you should feel. You felt everything you needed to in the most genuine fashion,and what's more, you let it OUT. THAT is true strength, and now you can heal. Believe me, reading your last post made me feel so far from alone. The past week has been really tough, and I felt really weak in the way that I handled them. But "those who dare to be, cannot be weak." You were true to yourself and I have to think it will help you heal. Take care of yourself. You're doing great.