Let's face it, cancer sucks, truly. I feel like I've been lined up against the wall with a group of randomly selected strangers, blindfolded and and left to wait. Indefinitely. The strength of the bonds that are formed between those of us who have never seen each other is indescribable, so I won't even bother. Suffice it to say that when a shot is fired, it may as well take us all down at once. I have held the hand of so many people as they've fallen, and every time, I go down and stay down right there with them.
Over the years, I've offered the same platitudes to myself that people often utter when they should really just say nothing at all. "Time will heal...They are no longer suffering...Kids are resilient, they will be fine....They are no longer suffering...They are no longer suffering..They are no longer.
But really, the only thing that's helped so far is to just give in to the grief, have a good cry and move on until the next wave hits. I told myself after the first year of advocacy that I wouldn't let them in any more. I would put hurricane shutters on all the windows and keep more than an arms distance between myself anyone else thrown in line. Right. Want to know what happened? All the walls came down. I was a fool to think that I could magically not feel the magnitude to their pain, and that of their family and everyone who loves them. Cancer sucks. truly.
Wondering how on earth this is not going to be a depressing blogpost? Ok, alright, maybe I lied a tiny bit. Maybe it's a little sad. But maybe this will help. A couple years ago, when my friend Alyssa Acquafredda died, I made a commitment to myself that I would try and incorporate her amazing perspective into my own life, and by that way, I could honor her always. It changed me forever. Alyssa was the most forgiving person I have ever met. I'm certainly not there..not even close, but I try daily, and when I do, I remember her with a smile instead of a tear. I now do this with everyone I meet, healthy, sick, alive or no longer with us, I try and learn as much as I can about how to live a better life. It helps tremendously that everyone has something to offer, new insight, better ways of handling the happy and sad parts of life.
I might fall every single time, but I'm landing on a different platform, one that is made up by the very best that life has to offer. Years of grieving has left an indelible mark on every single thought that passes through my brain, but it's not necessarily a sad thing, nor one that should elicit pity. I feel honored to know each of my partners in this world and will continue to learn how to live more fully with each new relationship that I am given the opportunity to be part of.