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Well, does anyone really parent Trey?  I mean, we’re just kind of along for the ride really.  You don’t really parent as much as co-exist and make medical decisions the best you see fit.  It’s kind of like using a hand made fan to change the direction of a tornado.  The intention may be there but really…  This applies both in his cancer but in every day life as well.  Nothing works but everything helps…maybe.

However, what about how we deal with BEING his parents?  We actually have two vastly different ways of dealing with such a “tragic” (I use quotes as so much of it has been a blessing though the ultimate description would still be tragic) situation.  There are some similarities and essentials that we both engage but also some stark contrasts.  As I share them with you I also want you to realize how careful we have to be with each other.

You would have to be quite unobservant to not know how I deal with things.  I am open, honest, and raw.  What I feel I let people know.  Further, I have no emotional filter (some say verbal either but that’s another post).  If I have thoughts about his funeral, I think them.  If I have feelings about what it might be like after “it” is all over I feel them.  If I wonder what the best way would/will be to prepare Joe and Bella I plan, I think.

Notice though, I don’t stay there long.  I don’t dwell.  I don’t fear.  I don’t let today go by the wayside while dreading “tomorrow.”  I deal with what I have to, I plan as I feel lead, I certainly pray accordingly, and then I move on.  To stay there would tear me apart and ruin the best of each day between now and …”then.”

Then there is my beautiful, intelligent, and oh so very strong partner in all of this, my Rachel.  She is different.  Not worse, clearly not better (I mean…c’mon), but different.  She keeps her cards a little closer to the vest.  Today is a day that is filled with more than enough.  She does not worry, or think about “those” days.  If thoughts/feelings sneak in they are quickly ushered out.

Notice though, she does not deny his condition.  She is not pretending that nothing is wrong.  To do so would set her up for an horrific awakening if/when that happens.  It will be awful enough if and when it happens.  She doesn’t need to make it worse by having months/years of pent up emotions to come flooding out all at the same time.

Notice though how we both must understand and respect each others way of dealing with “these” times.  If I get caught up in a moment, which happens most often during worship, it’s ok with her.  She doesn’t roll her eyes or ask me not to be that way.  Further, I don’t immediately (or often if ever) tell her what moved me to weep.  I know that she cares that I was either sad, happy, or most often just touched but that she doesn’t need (and certainly doesn’t want) to know how or why.  On the flip side, I don’t spend any time trying to get her to feel more.  I don’t tell her that she needs to open up and be just like me because…she isn’t.

The very thinnest of lines is making sure that each of our ways does not infringe upon the others.  I have to be able to share with her THAT I have had a moment.  For everything to be off limits would leave me feeling very alone.  For her to hear everything I am dealing with/feeling/thinking would take away from her security and peace (such as it is).  For her to not talk to me at all about anything Trey related would leave me extremely worried about her long term emotional health and cause me a greater burden.

So we are different but have to be the same in loving the person despite our different ways of dealing with this time in which we find ourselves.  On a nightly basis we have our 15 minutes where we cover everything that is going on in our lives.  We talk about the most unrelated mundane minutia but also the heaviest of medical decisions and possible prognostications.

Yes, we employ two different ways of dealing with life as we know it.  We meet each others needs.  We respect each other.  We survive, even thrive, despite the tornado that comes our way…and is yet to come.

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