Pampering isn’t just about taking care of what you do to your outside or what you put inside your body, it’s also about what you put inside your mind. The last month, for me, has been difficult. I made the trek to my dad’s to be by his side as he tackles the hardest part of his life..end stage liver cancer. He has chosen to quit any treatment with it. Now, it’s almost like the cancer is making up for lost time. While down there, I did fairly well the first week, but then..then…I started to slide. I didn’t complete anything on the blog (could you tell?), I didn’t do hardly any youtube videos and I just seemed to wither a bit, making excuses as to why I couldn’t do those things. I spent a lot of time just crying in my car before I wiped away my tears so my dad wouldn’t see them when I entered the house.
Watching him deteriorate had a mental effect on me that seemed to paralyze me from time to time. I’m an only child so there is no one to help me, so I’ve found this overwhelming and stressful, more so than anything before. I am grateful, however, that his friends have stepped in to help take my place when I cannot be there. I’m currently on a 3 week hiatus from him while I take care of business at home.
About halfway through my month there, I realized that if I didn’t take care of myself mentally, I would go down the rabbit hole with his cancer. If I allowed myself to do that, I would be no good to him, my family, or, more important, myself. I started working more on meditation, reading, taking walks when spring pretended it was going to show up, played with the dog, went to the YMCA, took drives while he slept, downloaded a positivity journal app, sang at the top of my voice to some of my favorite songs (and maybe danced too) and a few other things. I focused on what I had in front of me…time with my father. Time that many people do not have the joy of getting with their fathers for whatever reason.
Most importantly, I remember that I cannot help anybody if I don’t help myself first. My mental state must be the utmost in my pampering passion. I realized that I must take joy in the world around me even when I looked at my dad and it hurt me to see him be half the man he used to be. It hurt me when he thinks he can still drive, but, really, he doesn’t understand (or maybe he does) why it is unsafe for him to drive. He’s determined to hold on to his independence..he’s a stubborn one and I can’t really blame him.
This past month I learned to cherish my time. Cherish how I fill it. I get time with my father, however long that is, for that I am grateful. I will fill myself because I have to and it just makes me feel better to take care of me. As long as I remember that when I am with him, the cancer won’t beat me down with him.
Take care of yourself first. Pamper your body, both inside and out, and pamper your soul. Enjoy your life, no matter where your journey is at this moment.