We welcome you with both anxiousness and anxiety. With both joy and fear. With “are we ready to face the next chapter?” and “thank You Lord that chapter is over!”.
For the Roberts, 2013 was simultaneously the best and worst year of their lives. It brought a lot of heartache. But it brought a lot of joy as well. The Roberts felt more than they knew was possible in 2013.
Fear. Sorrow. Regret. Sadness. Sadness that cut to the bone and brought out grief they did not know was possible. Days they had to remind themselves just. to. breathe.
But those weren’t the only new feelings.
Friendship. Peace. Hope. Love. Travis experienced love in 2013 he never truly experienced previously. Love of family. Love of friends. Love of His Savior.
Travis has had two treatments of the new chemo and the trial medications are, for the most part, out of his system. They were brutal to say the least but the only remnants are some scaring clearing out from the rash and a bit of white fuzz in his facial hair. They are thankful that chapter has ended.
The new chemo treatment is not too bad. It comes with the typical side effects of chemotherapy…some nausea, headaches, fatigue and the occasional, spontaneous vomiting. But, compared to the trial…it’s a piece of cake. They can handle this chapter for a while. Hopefully…for a long while. They have decided to give it a full month before checking the CA19-9 to determine its full effect. It’s been two weeks. They have two to go. Hopefully, this chapter will be a long one.
The holidays were as to be expected. They so desperately wanted to enjoy every second. To soak in every moment. Enjoy their children laughing as they opened their presents. Giddy with excitement. But it was always there. In the back of their minds.
Is this the last Christmas?
Will I be here next Christmas?
Will I be doing Christmas alone next year?
Always there. Always in the back of their minds. Unable to skip the next few chapters and read the end of the story.
And, at the turn of the New Year, the rest of us were reflecting on the passing year and making resolutions for the new year.
I will get organized. I will lose weight. I will start going to church.
It didn’t occur to us to wonder…
Is this my last year?
Will I see the ball drop on Times Square next year?
Will he be here to kiss me at midnight net year?
There is no looking ahead to the next chapter.
With the holidays behind us and routine setting back in we will likely forget our silly resolutions. The gyms will clear out by February. Churches will be less full with each passing Sunday. Our closets will start to overflow. But, for the Roberts, the questions that came on New Years will continue to ring fresh in their minds. Come February…April….July…the same questions will remain as they can’t peak ahead and see how many chapters are left.
And so there is one resolution I ask that you not forget. One that I ask you not give up on. One that I hope you will remember come February…April…July. And that is simply to pray. Pray for the Roberts and all that they deal with every day. As they try to give their children the best and most normal life they can despite Cholangiocarcinoma. As they try to encourage one another. As they try to just. remember. to. breathe. And, finally, pray for Travis’ complete healing. Pray for the miracle. If you have prayed it a hundred times. Pray it a hundred more.
Because we are unable to read ahead. Unable to skip this chapter. Unable to peak at the ending.