I’m Alive, But I’m Not Living

I’m alive, but I’m not living.

These are words spoken by my mom from our visit with her at the hospital. Words I immediately took and stored in my brain because I knew these words meant she’s tired, weak and she’s just over it.
She’s here but she can’t really use her legs. Her daily thoughts are, “where am I going to sit for the day?”. She is here, but she can’t really enjoy the things that are in front of her.

I really can’t imagine what goes through her head everyday. It really breaks my heart seeing her struggle and not know what to do to help her. I see her hurting and in pain but don’t know what to say or what to do. You feel like you need to ask how she’s doing everyday but you know the answer. You know she feels terrible but when you ask, she says she’s doing great. I completely understand why she says that because if she came back with the true answer, “oh ya know, just sitting over here slowly dying from this cancer”. What would you say then? It would be awkward and make you feel really uncomfortable and bad for asking. All of these things go through my head every time I talk to her. I feel like it sometimes is meaningless words to even ask how she’s doing, because I know the answer. So instead, I pretend like she’s not even sick. I feel like if I treat her normal then she will feel normal. So, I call and tell her about how my kids doctors appointments went and how this happened today and blah blah blah. You know, just normal stuff that I’d call my mom and talk about because that just feels so much better than sitting around asking how she feels when I know 50 other people have asked her the same thing all day. Part of me hopes she knows why I don’t ask how she’s feeling everyday, but I also worry that if I don’t she will think I don’t care. I know she knows I do but you always wonder if you are doing enough. I don’t know what’s right and what’s wrong. No one does. None of us have really ever been through something like this and we don’t know how to approach it. It’s so hard to know what to do.

The days are long and hard on her and I know she has to just sit looking at the clock, waiting…waiting for something to happen. Waiting to see if a miracle will happen or she will have to go through more and more complications along the way, hoping that one of these “things” will fix her.
If I was her, I would’ve been ready to throw in the towel long ago. I know her fighting spirit has gotten her to where she is today. She’s got more strength than anyone I know but everyone has hard days. The days where you just say, “God take me. If you’re not gonna heal me, then take me now so I don’t have to go through this anymore”. We don’t know His plan. We never will until it happens, but it’s so hard to know if you’re pushing against what God wants by trying to hold on or maybe he’s telling you, “Just stop. You’re tired and weak for a reason. I’m trying to tell you to just let go and let me do what I’m trying to do”.
We had “this talk” in the hospital the other day. The one you don’t want to have but feel like you have to once it gets to this point. The “I don’t know what to do” point. Do I continue with treatment or stop everything and see what God is planning to do? Honestly this is the hardest conversation I’ve ever had to have because I want my mom here forever, but I don’t want to see her living a miserable life. I don’t want to be selfish and say, “Keep doing it. Try everything and put yourself through more pain just to see if something works”. I would be so selfish if I said that. The other alternative though isn’t easy to say either, but I couldn’t bring myself to say it to her in person. All I said was “whatever you want to do, we are behind you.” Surprisingly, we randomly heard gospel singing as we’re talking about this and don’t think it was coming from the movie Jumanji that was playing. I guess you can take that whatever way you want to take it, but I’m going to call it a God thing and maybe it was to bring Peace to the situation.
Later on when I got home, I really fought with myself for not telling her what I really wanted to say because I knew if I said it she wouldn’t be able to hear it through all of my tears pouring down. I decided to text her and tell her about all the things she’s gotten to see us do. “You’ve gotten to see us graduate, get married, have children and be an amazing grandmother to them. You have gotten to see so many things that some people don’t get to see their children do. You are so lucky to have seen all of these things, and we are so grateful we have had you here to see it all. All of this started right after I got married too and look how much you still have been able to see all while kicking cancers butt this whole time up until this point. You’re tired and no one will blame you for stopping treatment now. You have made everyone so proud by the strength you have shown but most importantly by your faith in God this whole time. You never gave up on Him and it has been inspirational to so many seeing you be such a faithful servant to Him. I know you have made Him so proud too. So mom, whatever you decide, we back you up on your decision.”

Love-Katelyn

Edited by: Morgan Marynissen

Published by Katelyn Streetman

Christian. Wife. Mama.

6 thoughts on “I’m Alive, But I’m Not Living

  1. Katelyn, I don’t know you but I used to work with your mom and have been watching her struggle on Facebook. I have prayed for her daily and asked God to heal her. I have prayed for you and your family. My mom went to be with Jesus in January and it was the hardest thing I’ve ever faced. But God…isn’t He amazing? He shows up in our lives every single time. I pray He is an ever present help in your life, in your mom’s life, in the whole family’s life. That every one of you will know He is real, He is there and you can trust Him to be with you through it all. Praying for you.

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  2. Your mama and I met many years ago at the softball field. She is and always has had the most beautiful smile and heart and that is what always drew me to her. Your mama is so loved by so many and is being prayed for daily as well as your whole family. Cancer is ugly! I went through your same situation and all I can tell you is to keep strong and God will do the rest! We love you all and are supporting you in any way possible!! Prayers continue

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  3. My heart feels your pain… my dearest Mom made it thru cancer after being told she had 3 months to live! She more than beat the odds by living another 30 years! When her final days were fading I prayed for a more merciful departure, it didn’t occur… so much pain. With this I must share that only God knows the answer and trusting in him is our faith. Being so blessed to have had a wonderful mother like you have is our gift!
    What ever her decision is, it will be with God by her side. Our love and prayers Elyse and Tim

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  4. Kristi- you are an inspiration to so many. No matter what you are facing you approach it with a smile. Behind that smile is more strength, positivity, courage, love, and faithfulness than I have ever witnessed. I pray for you and your huge extended family many times daily. I love you dear friend❤️🙏❤️

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  5. A beautiful testament to your mom’s strength throughout her battle with cancer and your and Morgan’s unyielding support.

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  6. Oh Katelyn,
    I can’t even imagine the pain you are going through. I have known your mom since high school and I know my heart is breaking. I see a lot of her in you and your sister. And this is only through the things I see on FB. I can only imagine how strong it is on person.
    She knows you care, you, your sister, her grand babies and Pat are her life. Don’t ever think she doesn’t know if don’t ask how she’s doing.
    I am thinking about you all and praying continually. Give her my love.

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