Finding joy is sometimes difficult. Well, folks, that’s what you call stating the obvious! Today has been one of those days. Cancer likes to kick you while you are down, of course, but it also likes to pull the rug from under your feet. It’s been tugging at the rug under my feet all day, making me quite unsteady. I’ve been asking Brian questions, trying to make him comfortable, getting things for him, preparing meals, etc. However, today he’s been tuning me out and I have been frustrated with him to the point of tears. He’s been frustrated right back. I don’t know if it’s intentional or just that his brain is a bit foggy. Both are reasonable and completely understandable. We spent the better part of 20 years married, but had time away from each other. He’d go off to work while I stayed home with the kids, each of us doing our own thing and then enjoying family time or time as a couple. Now he has to spend every waking, and sleeping, moment with me. For me it’s kind of old hat. I’m used to staying home and taking care of meals, laundry, dishes, and the like. Brian, on the other hand, is used to heading off to a job and accomplishing something during the course of a day. There are likely moments he feels I have actually become a ball and chain, keeping him tied down to his hospital bed or this house. Intentional or brain fog? I still don’t know.
Yesterday Brian gave his iPad away. His parents were talking about getting one and Brian decided it was time to give his up. Typing had become difficult and he has been forgetting how to use some features. His mom is pretty sure he’s giving it up because he wants the iPad 3, and under normal circumstances that would be 100% accurate! He still has his phone, but it’s basically a miniature iPad, so using it is even more difficult, unless you count Siri, but even she cannot understand his commands sometimes due to slurred speech from medication. It’s upsetting to watch things he’s enjoyed become cumbersome. He refuses help with sending texts, though I still asked several times today if he’d like some assistance. Is that right or wrong? I don’t want to make him feel like a helpless child.
So, where do I find the joy in a day like this? How do I choose to be joyful completely on purpose? I think joy is sometimes connected to duty, doing something you know you need to do even though you may be weary from it. Making sure Brian’s needs are met gives me purpose and I have taken it on, not out of duty, but out of love. However, some of the tasks I do are not optional and there is the sense of accomplishment in looking back over the course of a day and seeing that everything has been done, however imperfectly. He is tucked in and sleeping (hopefully dreaming) and I will soon follow.
One of my favorite books is Anne of Green Gables and tonight I am reminded of Anne’s optimistic take on life: “Marilla, isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” There we are, a nugget of joy discovered as the sun sets on a difficult day.
Fresh Tomorrows = Joy