Posted in life lessons

The To Do List

I have a To Do List on my kitchen island. It’s not a grocery list. It’s not a list of errands or chores. It’s a list of names of really good friends who have left messages or texted or emailed in the last few days asking the same question: “How are you? How is it going?”

I don’t know how to answer their question in a text and I don’t have the emotional energy to return the calls. So every day the list grows.

I am discovering that this hospital-discharge recovery phase of Jasmine’s leukaemia treatment has new difficulties, challenges and surprises. Not the least of which is mental and emotional fatigue that manifests in: tears over “nothing”; manic activity; guilt about Everything (especially The List); panicky fear that comes out of “nowhere”; wanting to isolate myself; and, of course, insomnia.

And that’s just ME! A grandparent. Christine and Jasmine have all that and more.

Even though we are “happy” to be home, there is a deep sadness that lurks just below the surface. This doesn’t mean we are ungrateful for the prayers, miracles (no fifth round), gifts, love, fellowship, kindness, lavish generosity of friends and strangers, and So Much More! We are overwhelmed with gratitude! We’ve been supported beyond our wildest expectations. We will never be able to pay it back (or forward) enough to show how much we appreciate it.

But ironically, our heavy-heartedness in light of such an outpouring of love and support simply adds to the burden of guilt we feel for having emotions that are anything but positive, euphoric, and grateful!

Our sadness does not come from Jasmine’s physical recovery. Every day she grows stronger and is able to do a little more. This morning I resisted the urge to film her as she demonstrated the line dance she learned in school three years ago. Her movements were slower and a bit stiff but she had the grin and the uplifted chin bang on!

For Jasmine, the physical toll has been severe. Her little body is ravaged: bruised, scabbed, scarred, denuded, emaciated. The damage to internal organs can’t be seen by the naked eye but various tests have alerted us to that reality. In addition, the emotional/ psychological toll, invisible and immeasurable, will take years to rebuild and will change her forever.

Of course, that’s not all bad. Some of those changes will equip her for greater maturity, empathy, tolerance, perseverance, endurance, compassion, spiritual depth and more.

But her new normal means she has a one in four chance of AML coming back. There is a greater likelihood of getting other cancers. Sunlight is no longer benign and she will have to protect her skin from exposure. She will need echocardiograms annually for life because of the potential heart damage from treatment.

But we’re home now! We dreamed of, prayed for, and anticipated with joy our final discharge day! It came and went and we were too tired, in every way, to celebrate.

We feel internal pressure to return to the old normal which  included family meals, jobs, friends, church, fitness, gardening, camping…. But we know that our new normal means we first need to take time for rest, counselling, fresh air, good food, spiritual renewal, recreation, massage, light exercise, visits with friends, and no big changes or new challenges for a season.

So for those I love on The List and for anyone else who has been following Jasmine’s AML journey: How am I and how are we doing?  Happy to be home. Saddened by suffering. Battle scarred but still standing. Aware that the recovery will take time. SO SO grateful to God and to our family, church, community, schools, coworkers, friends, employers, pray-ers, and supporters. We would not have chosen to travel this road alone and because of you, we didn’t have to.



Christian writer and speaker trying to follow God one yes at a time.

14 thoughts on “The To Do List

  1. Love you Connie. I have been thinking about you a lot. We were with Richard in Thailand, and I was asking him about you. Praying for you guys always. Love, Wendy

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My dear friend, while I have been remiss in regular communication, your names are written in my little prayer intentions booklet. So appreciate reading this good news — in light of Jasmine’s beautiful homecoming, your “bad” news of exhaustion and related feelings is more than acceptable and even normal. Continued prayers and lots of hugs, Marie-Louise.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Connie, your post really hit home as we went through similar feelings after Gerrys transplant- it will get better as time goes on . Normal will be ever changing and probably a little different than before but just as special . Please give yourself lots of time for reconvery and renewal- God will guide you as you go along. Love and many prayers for all of you . Live Gerry & Phyllis

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What an honest and rich blog. Thank you for sharing. You, Gerry and of course Jasmine and family have been on my mind and in my heart often these past couple of months.

    Praying for a restful recovery for all of you and for the adjustment into ‘regular life,’ eventually.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for this, dear friend. I am purposefully NOT bothering you, so this post was exceedingly welcome. Look at all that STUFF! It’s a wonder the nurses had room to move . I continue to pray for all of you, every day and often two or three times, as the Holy Spirit brings you to mind. Rest. Recover. Breathe. As Jasmine is doing. God loves you all so very very much. wby

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dearest friends. Nothing to return. No replies or actions required to acknowledge those who love and support you. Just be. Exactly who you are today. All mixed emotions and feelings. Many you be rocked in the Fathers arms. 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Just love and caring and understanding all that you so eloquently wrote. You know that I am a cousin who always wanted to be your sister ergo I am with you always in spirit. Grateful for the medical team. And grateful for the faith you share. Take each moment now and savour the sweetness of defeat over that horrendous disease. Love to all your family. 🙏🙏🙏❤️❤️🎶🎶😍😍😘😘

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It takes my breath away. Live each day with grace and dignity. Let go of the guilt we all understand. Hopeful the love will continue to shine through those sad dark areas.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh Con, oh Con oh Con.
    My heart aches for you even while rejoicing in Jasmine’s homecoming. That little girl will surprise you all with her ability to move forward and leave those horrible memories behind . Watch her and learn , as she remembers the good things , the kindnesses , the nurses her 13th birthday party, the joy of her trips home ., and her time with her precious grandma. She will just push on through it … day by day by day … because she is a child and especially because she is a child of God .
    Now for her Gram … you my dear ,dear friend …. what do you need ? Maybe some time in your garden…some time with friends, some time just breathing in the word of God . Our Savior is strong and He can carry all of your fear and all of your worry … share it with Him , unload it all. Con, give yourself time ,as much as you need, to recover to revive , to become yourself again. Always remember … Jasmine’s future is in His hands. And He will be there with all of you through whatever is to come… the great and the not so great.

    I want to say something to lighten the mood but its just not in me. 😳
    I’m sure I’ll come up with a little silly joke and when I do I’ll send it off to you, I will send you off a funny little video of…….guess who…Poppy Jane Marie.!!
    John is just crazy about her…even more than fishing , he says. It is so adorable to see him with her. When we Facetime , she looks right past me to see where he is.
    What a joy they are ….I am soooo relieved that Jas is finished with those horrible infections. I was praying so hard.

    My love to you and Gerry

    Sent from my iPhone

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Please Con … Ditch the guilt!!! Put that list in a drawer!!! That guilt… very non productive. Remember a moment feeling guilty is a moment lost forever. ( I just made that up! )
    Do not feel it is necessary to answer every email ; respond to every call ; your friends want you to feel their support . We aren’t looking for a response from you . We want you to feel love from us and from our God . Did you ditch that list??? You better! 😉Love you friend .
    ‘She’ …who does not want ,nor expect ,nor need a response.🤫🤐🤭


  11. Thanks for sharing your heart with us, Connie. So good to see Jasmine at the Pine Lake Camp with the Pathway/Cambrian church family.


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