Saturday, August 27, 2016

Cry For You

I recently had the opportunity to practice yoga in the barn at a local lavender farm in Sequim.

But this isn't just any lavender farm. It's B&B Lavender Farm, and is owned by some very dear friends of ours, Zion and Kristy Hilliker (and her parents, Bruce and Bonnie--it's a family effort!).

And the yoga studio I recently started practicing at, Poser Yoga, does these pop up yoga classes every so often in different locations in the community. And while I'm currently unable to get to classes on a regular basis, and I've got a pretty strong yoga practice at home, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to practice with my friend Kristy in her barn. RIGHT? And, even though they have about 20 bazillion bunches of lavender hanging in the barn, the scent of lavender wasn't nearly as strong as I anticipated it would be. It was really hardly noticeable. Seriously. I'm not a huge fan of lavender, but I am a huge fan of supporting my friends and doing yoga with them.

The class was fantastic; there were about 10 people who attended, and no, I didn't know anyone except for Kristy and the teacher, Jenny (who is the owner of Poser Yoga). And it helped bring awareness to what I can add to my own practice to strengthen it; basic poses that have fallen off my radar, like Warrior II and Triangle. Who forgets the Warrior and Triangle series? This girl. Because CANCER makes you forget basic things, including your own name. Anyway, it was a pleasure to practice with a supportive group of strangers. It was humbling and beautiful; challenging and stress relieving.

After the class was over, Zion, who is Master Gardner (basically, this means the dude is a badass and knows more about lavender than I ever thought possible [and I mean that as a compliment]) gave me a tour of the barn where he uses lavender to create everything from lip balm to essential oil to soap to all purpose cleaner to sell in the gift shop. I also got to visit with Kristy, and inevitably we talked about my family's situation (not bad, it's just that it's gonna come up, right? It'd be like if you had a chance to talk to Paul McCartney, you'd talk to him about the Beatles, right? You wouldn't just be like "Yeah, your work with Wings was cool" and you certainly wouldn't say something like "I really liked it when you did 'Say, Say, Say' with Michael Jackson," and leave it at that. Right?! You're gonna ask him about Revolver or Sgt. Peppers. Seriously.)


Like many people have said to me, Kristy said something like "I don't know what to say. I'm sorry I can't find the right words. I read your blog, and Randy's blog...and I wish I knew what to say that would be helpful."

And, as usual, I said something like, "I don't expect you to know what to say. I am in an incredibly difficult and scary position.... Nobody knows what to say. And nobody wants to be in my position."

But then she said something nobody has ever said to me before, and it impacted me on a very deep level. She said: "when I read your blog, I cry for you. I just cry because I can feel what you're feeling when I read what you write."

And I'm thankful she cries for me. Because I also discovered that day that I don't cry for myself. Or for my situation, or my husband, or my special needs son, or my neurotypical son, and what he deals with in dealing with his family's ailments. 

So I've started crying. 

A lot. 

Because why? 

Why me? 

Why my family? 

Why my husband? 

Why my children? 


It's not because "god" pointed a finger and said, "Let's give her breast cancer and him tonsil cancer and him a constellation of brain disorders." 

It's not because I curse a lot. Or not enough, in some instances. 

It's not because I'm being challenged by "god" to be stronger, or more diligent, or more or less of WHATEVER. 

It's not to make me stronger. 

It's not because I pissed someone off in a previous life. Or because I was "a difficult child."

It just is. 

But, GODDAMNIT I am sick and tired of dealing with these major health crises in my family. 

I'm not a crier. My therapist, Jan, who just retired after me seeing her pretty much weekly for 3-1/2 years, can attest that I'm not a crier. I cried on her less than a dozen times. I started seeing her just after Nathan was diagnosed with autism, when he was 6; he'll be 10 on September 10th. And she's been with me through autism, my breast cancer, the death of my father-in-law while I was going through cancer treatment, my husband's cancer, my mother's undiagnosed dementia, and the incredibly rare skin disorder my mother-in-law has. Normally, a therapist will have a person come to them for support with ONE of these issues; but, unlucky me, I get them all at the same time. The experience, insight and support Jan provided me throughout these health issues was a tremendous help.

At one point, she said, "maybe you're like Nelson Mandela, who was forced to embrace his situation and his life's work became that of a great leader and a great man. Maybe you're life's work is to embrace this shitty situation that you're in and you're becoming a great leader, especially in the field of Health. I mean, look at what you went to school to do. Look at what you chose to major in. Look at how you're educating people. Look at the fact that you're a college professor, teaching about Health issues. This is your life's work, Rachel."

And so I find myself working to embrace my situation. To accept it. And with that, it's ok to cry for myself. It's ok to feel sorry for myself, for my family, and to wallow in it for a little bit. To feel weak, as alien as that feeling is for me.

But, it's also important to get up and do Warrior and Triangle. To build strength. To feel strong. 

And, it's ok to cry while I'm doing Warrior II. Because sometimes in life, we find ourselves in a dichotomous situation, and it's important to find a balance. 

So, thank you Kristy, for being honest and telling me that you cry for me, because I am learning to cry for myself.

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