November 24, 2015
For a while now, I’ve been thinking about how I need to update my blog, but, well, I felt that I haven’t had anything new to say. Then, tonight (actually it’s morning, just after midnight), as I sit here, crocheting, thinking about random stuff, it occurred to me, that maybe I have nothing knew to say, because I’ve done some tremendous healing regarding having had breast cancer.
Healing, yes. But I am not the same person I was before I learned that I had breast cancer, I’ve changed. In some ways for the better, but in many others, not so much. I find I’m far less tolerant of others and I find that I have closed myself off. Then there is the memory issues (hello chemo brain), and my lack of giving a crap on some issues.
Learning you have cancer (or any other life threatening disease) changes you, it changes your world, it changes the people around you. I haven’t always been able to express how I’m feeling, or what I’m thinking, but I’ve done my best.
However, one thing is certain. The last 3 years have been hell, they have been very difficult. So many things have not worked out like I thought they would. I have been deeply saddened over the loss of a friendship that I thought would last forever, truly stand the test of time – but it didn’t and regardless of the actions that I sought to repair it, it is over.
I’ve lost jobs in the last 3 years, that has left me feeling very discouraged. Each time we start to get back up on our feet, bam, knocked back down. All I’ve wanted to do since I finished my surgeries and treatments was to escape for a beautiful beach vacation with my husband to celebrate the victory of beating cancer, rejoice in being alive and just take it all in. And, now, here we are again, knocked back down. We were planning to go to Cancun in February for this very purpose; sadly, a recent lay off has stripped this trip from my grasp once again. This has left me still yearning for the closure I have wanted, the rejoicing and recharging that my soul needs – and, I had very special plans to honor my friend Beverly while there, with a strawberry margarita while sitting on the beach; two things she had to give up after her double lung transplant.
This past year (2015) has brought about it’s own challenges; 3 people from my breast cancer support group have passed away after their cancers returned, one of which hit me very hard; Tanyecia – we were diagnosed on the same day. Loosing these 3 women (along with the above mentioned friendship) has hardened me a little, no not a little, a lot. Getting close to someone, then seeing them suffer and die from a disease that could very well take you is frightening. This has caused me to build some walls around my soul, protect myself even more from any outsiders that might hurt me further (refer back to the lost friendship).
The person who died that affected me the most is my friend, Bev. I have mourned her death more than anyone I can truly remember ever mourning before. For several months, the mere mention of her name, or a song (two songs, Stronger by Kelly Clarkson and Who You’d Be Today by Kenny Chesney) would reduce me to tears. Her life impacted me more than I ever realized, I dream about her so often, I find myself thinking about her, talking to her almost daily; I even had to ask her to stop visiting me in my dreams early on, as I was becoming restless and very weary. I am so thankful that I was called to the hospital, along side of her family, the day she started telling people bye, and was called again to be with her when she passed. I am so very thankful we had the opportunity to hold hands, talk, say we love each other, etc. while she was still coherent; I will forever cherish that I meant that much to her that she wished to tell me goodbye. There are a few things that happened around those events that I will always hold onto, always remember, always carry with me that help me through when I find myself going down that dark road and missing her terribly. Back in August, I realized I needed some help in dealing with her death and sought out grief counseling; wonderful decision. I’ve been able to express how I feel in a safe environment, the impact she continues to have on my life, how I can honor her, and now, how I can start to let her go (yes, she’s been gone for 6 months and I haven’t let her go).
Because of Bev, that wall I’ve been building around my heart will always have a crack, in hopes that I can let others in.
I miss her terribly; I miss who she was, all the wonderful, positive good about her, our world needs more people like her. For those of you who read this and know her, you know what this world is missing; for anyone who never met her – think of the most humble person you know, imagine this person has the soul of an angel, has integrity, no one ever speaks a bad word about them, nor do they speak badly of others. A genuine, loving human being. Every positive word you can think of, wrap that all into one human being and multiply it, and you have Bev. We need more Bev’s, and I have a lot to live up to in order to honor her and what her life represented.
The last 3 years have left me feeling more depressed than normal (I was diagnosed with depression many years ago and have had to learn my own ways of coping, sadly, it’s usually via food); I have found that I get knocked off balance easily, which is probably why I have felt so discouraged lately regarding work; but, true to who I am, I will continue to pick myself up, and continue on. There are days that just getting out of bed are hard, but at least now, it’s not because I feel so overwhelmed with cancer and all it brought into my life, Praise God.
As dark as the last 3 years have been, there has still been plenty of light! PLENTY of light!
I now have 2 very healthy, adorable grandsons whom have occupied my heart in a way that I didn’t know was possible. About a month ago, I was visiting them at their home (they live 3 hours away), and something changed with my oldest grandson(A), changed in our interactions and my heart healed by leaps and bounds that weekend (from the cancer). It’s not something that I can explain, nor is it something that I think I even want to explain, it just happened. Before A was born, a dear friend of mine expressed to me how there would be something very special about him, about the healing he would bring to my soul. She was right, thank you Jill.
I have a handful of friends who didn’t leave my side during my worst days, weeks and months the last 3 years. They have carried me through the valleys and celebrated with me at the top of the hills. They have shown me what true friendship really looks like. They continue to help me to heal.
I have also seen my youngest son get married and be incredibly happy in his new life, for this momma, seeing her boys happy and thriving is beyond anything I thought I would ever be allowed to experience. They continue to be what makes me who i am, how I want to continue to be a better person, at the end of the day, I want them to say “that’s my mom and I’m so proud of her, let me tell you about her” while they smile and beam. They are my heartbeat.
Plenty of light.
There is a saying that says “Time heals all wounds”, I’m not sure about all the wounds, but I feel like time has allowed me the opportunity to explore life in a new way while I have been going through cancer. Time has allowed me to talk my way through, write and express via this blog, share my experiences with others by helping other women through the process. Maybe that saying is true, maybe time has healed the wounds of my soul that cancer left.
I know I’ll never be the same person I was before hearing I had cancer, and that’s ok. I have my life, my husband, my children (sons AND daughter in laws), my grandchildren, my parents, in laws, siblings, friends and my precious Wall-E. I even have memories of previous friends that shine a light on my heart when I remember them.
This may be the last post I have, or it could simply be the last one for a very VERY long time. For now, it is the end.
I wish you a beautiful holiday season; may you count your blessings one by one, starting with yourself! Then wrap the holidays up by celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
I’m going to go stand in my very own spot LIGHT!
Thank you for following along.
PS – please be an organ donor in memory of my precious, beautiful friend, Beverly.