Hello Fearless Ones,
Okay, here’s what’s on my mind today, or tonight, I should say…. Well, now that I’ve finished writing, it’s morning. There goes my resolve to go to bed before midnight tonight. By the end of this post, you might think I have 10 personalities, but that’s okay, just roll with me, as I go through several range of emotions as I get a series of realizations through me.
Okay, I digress. So, this post is coming from a very raw place, as Thursday is the 5-year anniversary of my last treatment. I’m super excited, and yet, feeling a jumble of emotions all at once. I’ve been a mass of nerves the past two weeks – I know my nervous tics and they’ve all been in full force… I’ve been thinking – what the heck is wrong with me?
I just realized why… but really, nothing is wrong with me - everything is as right as it should be, and right on time. After I tucked Noelle into bed and snoozed off next to her for a bit, I got up turned the bedside light on and looked at her for a while; she makes me smile. I then checked her book bag to make sure there were no papers she was hiding from me, packed her lunch, checked the lights, stove, candles, picked up shoes, sweater, laid her clothes out for tomorrow (she’ll change the selection anyway), straightened the towels, wiped off the countertops, fixed her dolls just so on the chair in the living room, then brushed my teeth, washed my face, put on my special cream, slipped on my office shawl (the one I like to cover up with when I’m working), sat in my chair and unlocked the computer. I opened my emails and found one in particular that struck me – and that’s putting it lightly.
I’ll preface again by saying again that after Thursday, I’ll be “over the hump”, as they say and my risk of breast cancer recurrence will be much lowered, since I’ve crossed to the other side. I am excited, more than you know, but my excitement is mixed with other feelings deep in my soul. I’ve been thinking lately of all the beautiful women we and I have loved and lost to breast cancer. I’ve never asked why, why are they gone, not me. Never asked why I get to be here and figure out how to do this thing called creating a legacy of a world free of this disease and help those left behind to cope, survive, thrive and re-define life and joy again, figure out new rules, rights, policies, decisions and choosing - choosing which things to fight about, then which things to leave to figure themselves out.
A dear breast cancer survivor friend of mine passed away over a year ago -almost two years now, and her husband sent an email out saying he has found love again. This is one of the few topics that I struggle with when I’ve lost a friend and fellow survivor.
How soon is too soon… when my heart still aches when I think of her? How soon is too soon, when I still want to pick up the phone and call? How soon is too soon when I hear a song on the radio and immediately her smile appears before my eyes and the boyfriend or husband has someone new? How soon is too soon, when I see her picture on my mantle and for a split second, forget that she’s not here anymore?
In this instance, I'm happy for him and the kids, because I know they have hurt for so long...this particular friend lived with metastatic breast cancer for nearly 10 years. I can’t imagine what it must be like to love and worry and pray and yearn for the cancer to go away. I can’t imagine what it must be like for the children, family and the spouse… always worried that the next time could be the end, then watching someone you love transition, then, there, in the place where she once was, only a picture, a blanket and her smell remain – for a while. I know that it (moving on and embracing life) is healthy, and that it should happen and if it were me, that I would want them to be happy, because I would have lived my life to the fullest, at the end of the day, I would want my friends to smile and live with joy in every moment, because that would give me joy.
…but, I guess it was something in his post that tugged at my heart... something in his blog to the effect of him finding someone else “ means realizing that she isn't coming back". They’re not coming back, none of them are; I don’t think I ever articulated it in my mind or in words that way. In my world, as crazy as it may be, I feel like I'm surrounded by all of my friends, so many angels, so I after I get through the tears, ugly crying (you know what I mean), punching the sofa, yelling in the car, jogging as tears roll down my face, trying to empty out the pain and the hurt, wanting it to go away, but still fiercely holding onto the love that brought the pain, I feel better knowing that these strong, fearless, fighter, warrior heart women I love are close. I feel them with me now, I feel their gentle spirits as I move about my life, they whisper love, they steer me in the direction I should go, keep me out of harm’s way, touch my face when I’m sad, lift me up higher when I’m happy, inspire me when I’m searching for divination and guide my steps as I move into my destiny.
They give me something to aspire to, so I never feel that they’re gone. They’re close, yet they are a-way and they’re not coming back. I guess I just never thought of it that way, and my friend’s husband’s post gave me a new perspective. A part of me wanted to be angry with him when I first read the post and I read it over and over again, but as I read, I could also feel him asking her friends and all of us who loved her, imploring to let it be okay for him to find love again, to not be upset, disappointed or sad, but to be okay, because they’d talked about it before she passed and she said that it would be – okay, that is, for him to find love. How amazing was she to talk that way to the man she loved, the father of her amazing children, and give him the okay to live and love again after she was gone?
I wish him, my friend’s husband the best, and I thank him for opening up my heart and mind to another layer of healing and growing into my strength. His vulnerability, openness and raw plea awakened something in me. I realized just now that if she could and if he could, I can forgive - all that the cancer took from away because God gave me so much more that I could ever dream of. Cancer’s got nothing on the power of the Universe that it unleashed when it hit me February 28, 2006 at 4:45 p.m. I know that for a fact because I’m still realizing it more and more every day. Every day, as we change, and grow, whatever the challenges, the word fearless becomes re-defined and more real, because you realize that fear is just a word, and you can change what it means for you and how you choose to react because of it.
When you get diagnosed with cancer or someone you love gets it - something, a part of your innocence is taken away from you, and not by choice. You fight your way through to find your way back to the surface again, gasping for the air of a new reality, a new truth, then the days and years go by; some of the healing stones are left unturned…sometimes, until nearly years later… you find one, turn it over and you learn to re-define yet again, forgive it all and start anew, like my friend gave her husband permission to do. And I guess we’re always re-defining in life, because of or in spite of something or another.
Without challenges we’d be still, with nothing to rock our world and push or pull us towards endless possibilities and feelings. It's been an awesome 5 years - I couldn't have dreamed it better myself. I've been able to watch my little girl turn into a big girl, enjoy family, meet thousands of new friends, grow into myself, and learn how to use my powers for good - it's been an awesome journey. Now, on to the next 100 years, with no limits, God and angels who’ve “got our back”. I’ll see you on the other side of November 17th. You ready??? Let’s go make things happen! God is unreal - He can make anything happen. I believe. Together, we can do the impossible and change the lives of young women - before, during and after breast cancer - around the globe. Let's do it!
In love, and fearlessly,