The moment it started I was answering questions from my boyfriend's daughter (10 year old Pehlyn) about what she needs to do to prepare for her first dance recital that day? Does she wear her costume or bring it? Can she wear her earrings that she never takes out or have to remove them for the recital? How do the false eyelashes go on? Does she wear a bra under the costume because the straps will show? All questions that I started to remember wondering and discussing with my own daughter, Amber so many years ago when she did tap and ballet classes. Those were beautiful memories for me. I love dance. I love to dance. I love to watch others dance. It is beauty to me. And as I was answering these questions for Pehlyn, I was reminiscing. And then the reminiscing started to develop an ache within my chest that led to tears welling in the corners of my eyes. I could not cry in front of her as this was a wonderful day for her. To the bathroom to cry in silence I went. Such an overwhelming sense of times gone by, never to be visited again. Such joy remembering Amber dancing. I loved those moments and cherish the memories so much! And in happiness, just as in sadness, I feel overwhelmed and tears flow sometimes, more times since my diagnosis almost one year ago.
Is this a bad thing? Some may say so, others not. I don't necessarily think it's a bad thing to cry while remembering beautiful memories or cry when feeling overwhelmed. But I do not like to experience this overwhelmingness (if that's truly a word). I prefer to be strong, controlled but in the last 11 months I have lost that ability to maintain control due to circumstance but I have not relinquished the ability to remain strong and I have had it proven time and time again I believe. What I am now realizing is that strength does not mean you cannot or should not cry but rather strength is knowing (and allowing yourself) that you can get to the other side of losing that control, being overwhelmed and that you will be more appreciative and thoughtful because of that experience. Strength is realizing that you are a survivor of the moment, tears and smiles and all the in-between of it all.
So I gathered myself off the bathroom floor, wiped my tears and fixed my face. I carried on as I always do and went back to the kitchen where Lenny and his children were. We laughed and talked and Pehlyn continued to flit around excited for the afternoon's planned recital. Off to get her hair and makeup done at a friend's home and while I sat in the car waiting, the tears welled up again, just a little. Then she appeared, all made up looking so beautiful. I had to quickly look away before she saw the tears. I desperately thought to myself, big breath, calm yourself Tanya cause this is her moment so get it together. That I did. "Oh Pehlyn, you look so beautiful! Can I take a picture?"
Off to the recital which entailed us dropping her off at the door and letting her go in by herself due to COVID-19 restrictions. The recital would be available for viewing by purchasing a CD later on but could not be viewed by anyone live. Ok, this is just how it is due to the pandemic. In and out she went. In less than 10 minutes she was back in the car and off we went back to the house. More pictures in the kitchen (I can't help it, it's the photographer in me) and another visit to the tearful bathroom for me right after. Overwhelming emotions. Big tears. Big sobs. So grateful to be able to be a part of these moments. Again, I gathered myself together and rejoined the clan in the living room with business as usual for the evening.
Eventually I told Lenny about this, although I waited until his children were not home to do so as I knew I would cry all over again. He listened and tried to understand but I wonder if he just wasn't sure what to think of it all as he had no idea I had cried so hard in the bathroom previously. "Just listen and let me cry please" I said to him and he did just that. He looked at me and gave me a kiss, pulled me closer and snuggled me in next to him on the couch. I lost control but I survived the moment. I am strong!
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