Internalizing your emotions can be an easy thing to do when you or someone you love is facing a mesothelioma diagnosis. Even if you don’t mean to do this, it tends to happen. I can tell you from my own experience that it happened to me, but that things seemed a lot more manageable once I opened up to those I love.
When Dad was first diagnosed, I was a mess of emotions that didn’t make any sense. In one instant, everything I knew changed. I was sad, scared, angry, and confused. I knew that everyone around me was feeling the same way, and I didn’t want to burden anyone with having to help me when I knew that we needed to focus on my father. It didn’t take me long to realize that I was going to be of no help to anyone until I had some comforting myself.
It was hard opening up to people about what was going on with Dad’s health. First of all, I really didn’t understand a lot of what was happening; secondly, talking about it made things seem more real and the pain became deeper somehow. In talking with my husband, Mike, I began to accept that this had to be our new reality and that God would guide us through it.
When I began to talk to him, I don’t think I used any words. I remember just crying uncontrollably, but having him there beside me was all I needed. Once I could talk, I told him how scared I was and that I didn’t know what I was supposed to be doing. How would I ever smile or laugh again knowing that Dad had cancer? I would see people walking down the halls of the hospital living their normal lives, wondering if I would ever have that again. I needed to admit to myself that there is still beauty in life, even in the face of the toughest adversity.
People want to be there to support you in hard times, you just have to let them, but on your own terms. You’ll know when you’re ready to talk and how much you feel like sharing. The important thing to remember is that others really do care and might be just as confused as to how to help you as you are about asking for their assistance. Pray about it and let God lead the way. He will always lead you where you need to go.