My Mum is currently in hospital in Oxford about to undergo a very intense form of chemotherapy. She is under a man whom we all trust, as he helped heal my sister of cancer a few years ago. Mum's form of cancer is more aggressive and she is older so she has been warned that her chances of survival are quite low.
30% in fact.
I'm feeling pretty ok about it for a few reasons: prior to cancer my Mum was fit, healthy, ate healthily, didn't drink or smoke and she did regular exercise; my Mum is positive and booking things for when she gets better (concerts, holidays and afternoon tea experiences are already lined up); and this may sound strange but I'm feeling alright because I trust my Mum. If she can get better from this then she will do everything she can to do that. She is strong, my Mum. And if she can't beat this invasive, aggressive beast then I know that she did everything she could to stay with us and she'll always be with me in my heart.
I am not sure what my beliefs are. But I have faith. My own kind of faith. I've asked people to pray for my mum, to send her healing energy and love and prayers or whatever it is they believe because I truly want my mum to get better. To feel well. To be free from pain. To continue to delight in her growing tribe of grandchildren.
And then I realised I wasn't praying. So I decided I would pray. A friend of mine has a beautiful way of describing her spiritual experience of God - it goes something like 'the all present, all knowing, all loving divine presence that is known by many names and may or may not be the universal Divine' - actually I think that's way off how she describes it (sorry Lorri!) but you get the idea. I believe in something, I just am not sure what that is.
Anyway so I decided that I would pray. I started off praying for my Mum to get better. And then I got a clear response that that might not be God's plan, it might be but it might not be and I needed to accept that. So instead I prayed for strength. Strength to face whatever happens on my Mum's cancer journey. And courage to be there for her no matter what. And the response came back with a big 'yes'.
And then because I'd started, the flood gates opened and so there I was hanging out the laundry and praying fervently that my Mum would feel more comfort and less pain, that she would have strength to face whatever comes. And I prayed for my brothers and sisters (there are 5 of us) that they will have strength as we go through this together.
I prayed that we will stay strong as a family, that we will find positives in small things and joy in our daily lives.
And do you know what? I felt better. And even writing this again it's hard saying my Mum might die. I don't want her to not be around. I want my children to have their Grandma as they grow up. I'm living where I do so we are close. And yet I also feel great peace. Everything is going to turn out just the way it needs to. And no matter what happens my Mum will be in my heart because she loves me and I love her.
My Mamma is crazy and silly and funny and positive. And sometimes she seems to know exactly how to press my buttons. And she is also kind and generous and loving and strong and fierce and supportive and a wonderful Grandmother and she is my Mum.
And so I continue to make that prayer. A prayer for strength. For courage. For comfort. And I extend that prayer to my loved ones, and to you, and to all who suffer in this world. Because we are stronger than we know and sometimes we need help remembering that.