We all need it, especially after bad news. No, I am not talking about large amounts of alcohol and chocolate, though that may help. I mean what my friends and I referre to as The Freak out Week. It is the week after you receive said news, and it is your time to completely freak out and be an emotional basket-case. You give your self permission to just be a shitty basket case.
If you want to be irritable, you are. If you want to spontaneously combust into tears at any given moment, you can. If you need to consume large amounts of alcohol and chocolate, you do. you talk, cry, eat, drink and cry. If you need to throw shoes across the room, you do. You are just a hot mess every moment during thisweek. And your friends are right there for you every step of the way. And that has defiantly been me.
And I am so thankful for my family and friend this past week, who have been there for me, having the difficult conversations and holding me while I cry. I am glad my sister was the one who told me and was there – when I woke her up at 2am one morning sobbing, scared and tired, with red eyes and tear stained cheeks, shaking, asking questions. I am thankful for her sleepy look, her kind re-assuring words, her being my rock in that moment. My dear, wonderful older sister, taking care of me as she often has in those dark moments of life.
The freak out week is not a pity party, but rather a way to get it all out of your system so to speak. And when that week is over, you can come back down to earth a calmer person, ready to handle what ever challenges come about. After my week of completely freaking out over my father’s health and possible prognosis, I feel much better and can move forward and be a rock for the family.
Looking back when my Mother was diagnosed with stage 4+ Ovarian Cancer, there was a freak out week as well. That week was much different though – Mom was in the hospital barely conscious due to all the medication, and I watched over her. I got about 2 hours of sleep that entire week and then drove back up to Atlanta to shoot a commercial. The make up artist noticed the dark circles under my eyes and asked if I had been out partying all night. I just smiled and said, “Yes, something like that.” So in comparison, this week of freak out is going much better.
And you have to learn to laugh about these things. Humor keeps you sane in the midst of chaos. Faith keeps you grounded and your heart safe. I remember a wonderful friend of the family whose mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer and had a mastectomy. The first time I met her, he walked in the room, looked at her and said “I heard a joke today that was so funny it would knock your boobs off. Oh, I see you’ve heard it!” I froze in horror. How could he talk to his mother that way? She busted out in laughter and gave him a huge hug. Many years and two parents’ illnesses later, I now understand what he was doing.
And so it goes. And I wonder what the future will bring, for our family. I don’t know, but what I do know is that we are strong in faith and close in our hearts. And whatever happens, we will make it through, we will be there for each other and we will be OK. Even Dad, as Gods Will be done. He will give us the strength, courage and grace we need. If you are reading this and are a person of faith, please say a prayer.