Hiking Past Death

I am so sorry.

I am so sorry.

I am so sorry.

I am so sorry.

I am so sorry.

I am so sorry.

I am so sorry.

I am so sorry.

That’s how many times I said that yesterday, before it was even time to almost-crawl-into bed before having to go say it four more times in the night.  From newborn to the ancient, and everyone in between, those with huge families and some with no one, those who were expecting death to come and those for whom it came suddenly, this is what we do:  I am so sorry.

It was my turn for Sunday shift yesterday at the hospital.

I was fortunate that after some ER pages Friday night, that I crawled into bed about 4am and then had no more all Saturday.

This gave me time on Saturday to rest and play with the children, before crawling out of bed at 5am yesterday. We even got laundry done, the yard work done, and the house cleaned.  We got all that done with the two new boys staying overnight.  It went great!

But getting up again on Sunday, and leaving them to go cover the hospital chaplaincy for Sunday was so hard. Nathan was playing violin in another ward, and now that we have so many children it is harder for me to get to go hear him.  This time we had to have a friend stay with the kids while he did that and I headed to the hospital.  When did this become our life?

It was also my turn to preach at the hospital, since I was on shift, and this time I was grateful since the new CPE unit will include preaching seminars.  I was grateful for the practice, as I am used to giving talks or presentations but not ecumenical sermons.  The pager went off all day, about every hour, and into the night.  I had twelve deaths and four funerals, and got about 45 minutes sleep before the pre-surgery alarm went off this morning.

I could have had an hour of sleep between 1030 and 1130 last night, in between an ancient death and a premature infant death, but I brought my cello and longed to play in the amazing sound space of the chapel. I can’t tell you how amazing it is there, but you know how those sacred spaces make you crave the temple?  It is like that there for me, a temple-like space, all alone in the chapel, with just me and my cello and my God.

I am glad I played.  It nourished me, feeding my bones.  I missed my cello these last few weeks during finals.

This morning I showered in my room at the hospital, then got ready and packed up.  I left as soon as I was able to hand off the pager, and then I was on my way to a full Monday of work with only 45 minutes sleep last night, and about four hours sleep in two days.  It was the hardest weekend I have had so far, with the extra jobs overlapping.  It’s never been that painful as today was painful.

I am worn out now, but everything went well today.  Today was gorgeous, so I decided to treat myself to a sunset hike.  My body yearns to move, to breathe, to be healthy, and to be strong again.

It’s been a year since the Cancer drama began to unfold, and I am anxious to have my body back.

I don’t mean my body shape, though that would help.  I mean my body functioning and capacity.  I mean my body that does strong things.

It is so much better than when I was sick, with less pain less often, and my daily energy is back most of the time.

But I don’t yet have energy that is expendable.

I am getting there.  I can mow the lawn again! I can even mow the lawn and still walk the next day, even if I also work in the garage after! So already I am better than I have been in two years, and I am so grateful.

(I am also grateful for Nathan’s dad, who worked on shredding and bagging the pile of sticks and leaves on the side of our house.)

But I have only just now been cleared to trying and get strong again, and I am nervous.  They told me if I lose weight, the Cancer will win.  So how do I know it’s ok, now that my body is huge-er from steroids and hormones and medicines? How do I know I can work out without lymph nodes blowing up?  How do I move my body from fragile to strong again?


That’s how, they said.

So today, when I had a chance for a leisurely stroll through a park, a slow and easy hike with lots of resting places if I needed them, I had to go.  I had to go.

And oh! The sweetness of the azaleas and honeysuckle beginning to bloom!  The sound of brooks and birds!  The sun on my skin and the air crisp in my lungs!

It thrilled me! I maybe was slower than the past, but I could do it! I maybe didn’t go as far or as long, but I was okay after! I maybe didn’t run any trails, but I walked them and soaked in every second of every sense of smell and vision and sounds and taste of the spring air with wind blowing in my newly grown hair.

It made me so happy!

And it brought me such rest and respite and life and energy and healing!

Maybe I can do it now, the being alive again, when I nourish myself with days like this, when I can hike my way past Death.















































Posted in Healing, Health permalink

About Emily

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2009. I serve as a Chaplain, and work as a counselor. I got bilateral cochlear implants in 2010, but will always love sign language. I choose books over television, and organics over processed. Nothing is as close to flying as ballroom dancing - except maybe running, when in the solo mood. I would rather be outside than anywhere else, especially at the river riding my bike or kayaking. PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy, and currently doing a post-doc in Jewish Studies and an MDiv in Pastoral Counseling. The best thing about Emily World is that it's always an adventure, even if (not so) grammatically precise. The only thing better than writing is being married to a writer. Nathan Christensen and I were married in the Oklahoma City temple on 13 October 2012, and have since fostered more than eighty-five children. We have adopted the six who stayed, and are totally and completely and helplessly in love with our family. Nathan writes musical theater, including "Broadcast" (a musical history of the radio) and an adaption of Lois Lowry's "The Giver". He served his mission in South Korea, has taught song-writing in New York City public schools, and worked as a theater critic for a Tucson newspaper. This is not an official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


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