When I was in junior lifeguard lessons, we tried swimming in the pool with all of our clothes and shoes on. Upon entering the water, I quickly starting making poor decisions, such as trying to remove my pants before taking off my shoes. My legs quickly became trapped as my pants were stuck around my ankles. Even though I still had full use of my arms, I panicked. I start sinking further and further into the water until I was near the bottom of the pool. The lifeguard dove in and rescued me. Until even today, I can’t understand why I didn’t just swim with my arms. It’s like the fear and shock stopped all productive thinking and I just got stuck.
Now that I have a child with Leukemia, I often feel a similar feeling of panic. It would be so easy to just give into that feeling and stop thinking about what productive choices I can still make. It would actually be quite easy to just slip down into the great nothingness. But as a parent, that is something I just won’t do. I must keep thinking, “What can I still do to help this situation?” As Dory would say, “Just keep swimming.” 🙂
Let me assure you this is not easy. It requires almost constant mental focus. I ask myself about 10 times an hour, “Can I do anything right now to help Gracie?” If not, then I must remind myself that worrying will not help my family. It will, in fact, hurt us.
Again, I don’t want to sound like a hypocrite and act like this is easy. I regularly feel like I am starting to drown in the ocean of terror. I feel the blackness creeping up on me, and I must hold it back with all my might.
At these times, I remind myself that I just need to start swimming again – but with renewed effort. It often feels like any challenge I’ve ever faced and any scary situation has been minuscule compared to this. But, I also know that every pool I’ve had to swim has prepared me to swim in this ocean. I just have to keep swimming. I can take a quick rest and back float for a while, but I must keep swimming. And so must you.
God bless you. Keep caring and carry on!