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The Expense of Time: Megan's Story

words and photos by Meghan Endahl

Most of use grow up with an innate feeling of what we’re meant to be. Already, we look  at our son and say, “NASA engineer for sure.” And even if that may never happen, we know he’s  meant to be something.

Me? I grew up believing I was meant to be a writer. A famous, published  author of fantasy fiction who famous directors will beg to make movies and Hans Zimmer will phone to tell me he’s already created the perfect composition. 

The reality? I was  meant to be a mom. That’s my purpose. I’ve felt this way for a long time, probably before I even  realized what that feeling was. When my husband and I married, we agreed I’d leave my job so I  could finish earning my Creative Writing degree and, eventually, stay at home with whatever  children God might allow us to bring into the world.

Over the span of eight very trying, gutting,  but also joy-filled years I became a mom to two kids, my son — the future NASA guy — and my  daughter. 

And then I was diagnosed with Stage IV (metastatic) Colon Cancer. My daughter was  just one year old. But, wait? Wasn’t I meant to be a mom? Wasn’t I meant to raise my children, to hold them in my arms until they become too heavy, to teach them about God’s amazing grace  or get mad when they come home too far past curfew, to see them marry and have babies of their  own?

That was the agreement I thought we’d made. Not just with my husband, but with God. I  would devote my life to raising up children who love Him, and who become good, honest people. But God doesn’t do agreements, or bargains. He doesn’t want me to devote my life to my  kids, He wants me to devote my life to Him and everything else that is good will follow.

I left my part time virtual assistant job and had a power port installed in my chest cavity. I let other people raise my children while I wasted away but also survived, again and again, every  single day. A year later, almost to the date, I heard the word, “remission.” But, instead of joy, I  was filled with dread. Layers of dread, like an onion tight within its skin waiting to be cut open  and pulled apart. 

Before the diagnosis, I ran a successful photography business, which helped us stay  afloat. I’d even taken on that virtual assistant job as we planned to save up for family vacations and a play-set for the kids. Dreams, right? We love to dream.

But, while chemo plunged through  my veins, my clients chose new photographers and my VA boss couldn’t wait for me to get  better, she had to move on. So, here I am supposed to be enjoying life as a “normal” mom again,  only to have the weight of grocery receipts and growth spurts set neatly upon my shoulders.

My husband’s income covers enough for the bare minimum these days, and cancer costs money, even  in remission. While I fill the shopping cart with organic, plant based food and meet with a  naturopathic doctor, money seems to disintegrate.

Looking for work isn’t how I wanted to spend  my time, though. It’s my second chance at life, for goodness’ sake! I should be spending this  time loving on my kids and taking care of my body and, well, trying my best not to ever hear the  words “you could die” ever again. I don’t want to miss a thing, but I am. 

I’m scrolling through VA jobs that I don’t qualify for or don’t have the time for. I’m  making reels for my photography business and not booking a single paid session. I have a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing, and for what? No one will hire me (well…not no one —  thank you, Bunmi) because I don’t have any professional experience.

While my daughter tugs at  my shirt and says “c’mon Mommy let’s goooo,” I feel like I’m back to wasting away again. I just  want to be like my friends who have an abundance of children they’re able to homeschool and  who raise chickens in their backyard and make sourdough bread in their “spare time.”

Okay — I  don’t really want to be that mom, but I think I’m making my point. Time. I want to have time  with my kids, because I truly don’t know how much time there is anymore. 

The thing is, keeping them fed and in clothes that fit is important, too. So, no matter how much it keeps me up at night, I will do what I can to bring in the extra income we need. Whether or not I’m around, my kids will appreciate that someday.

At the very least, they’ll know I tried  my best, that I beat cancer and then started looking for a job because I want them to feel secure  and safe and want for nothing (nothing important, anyway). And that particular idea isn’t unique  to me, a mom in remission from cancer — I fully believe this is what most moms want.

To give  our kids good homes and good lives, even at the expense of time. So, we seek. We seek the work  at home jobs that allow us to do both. I may not be on the ground playing with my daughter, but  I’m in the room with her while working on my computer, and for now, that’s enough.


Meghan is a writer, photographer and stay at home mom. She is in remission from stage IV colon cancer, and has found new purpose in sharing her experiences as a mom with cancer and bringing awareness to the juxtaposition of faith and disease. In October of 2023, she self-published a poetry and photography book called More than Watchmen Wait for Morning, which is an exploration of lamentations and hope in Christ.

Visit her website: Meghan Endahl Photography


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