Kara’s Collection: Tears and Celebration

from an article originally posted September 10, 2014…  

It felt like an impossible day to get through. But we made it. We cried hot tears. My girlfriends stood by and watched through tears, but they showed up. They were there. And a thousand more would have come if I had asked. Just to smile at me through my tears. And in the smiling, letting me know it’s going to be okay. Somehow, it will be okay.

Shaving my head felt devastating this go around. I know what this is. I know what this means. So hot tears ran down my face as my kind friend Evan shaved my head. It hurt. Not the bald, but what the bald represents. That I will likely never again enjoy hair. It hurts. It feels so ugly. And you all are so kind to lift my spirits and tell me I’m not ugly, but today. I feel it. And it’s not a feeling I often carry. Grace will meet me. I will learn to live with this again. But today, it’s hard. Having the kids watch gave me courage. Then in the impossibility of life, the weird order of events, we all moved from this moment of sad and tears into celebrating a special Harper Joy. It was loud, joyful, full of life living that I love. The knot in my throat passed as we sang and celebrated my second born who is cherished. We prayed for her heart, her future days, her relationship with Jesus, and we blew out the candles and enjoyed an unbelievable birthday cake from Whole Foods as well as a fruit tart someone brought us from Marigolds. Dessert, good dessert that is, does help the tears to stop. Girlfriends, loving husbands, cherished children all running around really helps.

Lake came to me after we became twins and said his neighbor buddy wanted to see me. Lake wanted to share that his mama matched him. But this boy is older than Lake and I wasn’t sure I trusted him to be kind. But I went outside to a new friend we have met this summer named Nikko. I walked out and greeted our young friend. I said, Nikko, I’m sick so I had to do this. But now I match Lake. And wonder upon wonders, he looked at me so gently and said, Ms. Kara, I’m so sorry you had to do that, I’m just real sorry. I thanked him kindly and walked inside for fear of utterly breaking at his tender kindness. I think I told that story twice to Jason last night. There is something so special when you meet tenderness where you don’t expect it. He will be gentle with my son and not tease him. He will be kind to me, and I simply love him for what he said.

So, yesterday was hard. We are facing more f-ing cancer in my brain. We shaved my head, we wept together. But then we toasted one another, we toasted today, we danced while making dinner and cleaning up the house, and we celebrated my Harper full of Joy. Today we fly away. The big girls and I fly away to a land we love. I cannot pretend I will get a lot of these trips. So I get to savor my loves in North Carolina. I get to spend the energy I have in love with my people in the land of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Then I come home to make a mask for my brain radiation, face more chemo, and then face brain radiation again.

We can do this. Mom, we know how to do this.
— Eleanor, full of Grace