There are so many difficult things about having Stage IV cancer.
Obviously, death is the first and foremost of these difficult things. No one wants to leave this world yet. And of course, the dying process itself is hard -- the physical discomfort and outright pain of dealing with your body failing, sometimes by inches, sometimes by yards, sometimes by tsunamis.
Emotionally, the pain is to have to say goodbye long before you thought those goodbyes would come knocking. The pain of leaving your children and your spouse is the most bittersweet of all; so bitter to have to say goodbye and to know how deeply your death will wound them, but so sweet in having had the tremendous privilege of coming to know and love them.
But between life and death, there's a whole lot of gray space. A whole lot of neither-here-nor-there space. A whole lot of unknown space. A whole lot of waiting. And a whole truckload of wondering.
And right there, in that in-between space of Don't-Know and Can't-Control lies one of my hardest spaces, the Uncertainty Zone.
I hate uncertainty. I mean, I hate uncertainty. I hate not knowing what's going to happen and how. I hate not knowing the best course of treatment to take. I hate not knowing the best way to handle all of the difficult choices and emotions. I hate not knowing how best to help my loved ones. I just plain hate not knowing.
That's probably because I'm a world-class worrier. From my PhD in Anxiety, I have learned that worrying is a way of asserting the illusion of control over what cannot be controlled. I know perfectly well that worrying doesn't change anything about tomorrow and cheats today of its joy. But it's hard to let go of that worry and just live fully in the moment, embracing the uncertainty of now.
Yet I don't really have any choice. There is no other place for me to be.
So all I can do is step into that place of grace, to move forward and dance with the fear, to accept the challenge and the gift of letting go and embracing uncertainty.
We are transforming. We are Becoming.
Until then, all we have is the Certainty of Uncertainty. Perhaps with time we can learn to make some peace with that.