Today, I stood by, helpless and brokenhearted, as a beloved friend said goodbye to her brother. Her brother was diagnosed with cancer, days after I finished my last chemotherapy treatment. His death is a heartbreaking loss to the universe for he was one of the coolest mellow souls that I have ever met.
His death has left my heart heavy and it has been a vivid reminder of just how devastating cancer is to all those around me. Since my diagnosis, I feel like the cancer diagnosis of friends and family have rained down around me. For everyone that beats cancer, it feels like 2 more are diagnosed. With every diagnosis, with every victory and with every loss, I am reminded of just how hard the journey is. It is a heartbreaking battle for not only the patient but the family and friends that play such a crucial role in every fight against cancer.
I am seven months cancer free and my body is recovering but truthfully, the last few months have been challenging emotionally. When I was fighting cancer, every day was just about 'what does my body need today', 'what can I do today to keep my body strong'.
It was months later, one morning after dropping my daughter off at camp, where I pulled the car over and sank into the grass on my knees sobbing, shoulders shaking as I let months of fear and anger finally escape through ugly tears. It was the first time that I allowed myself to admit that I had been afraid of dying, that I had been mind numbingly petrified of leaving my daughter without a mother. It was the first time that I allowed myself to acknowledge my own close calls, without brushing them off with a sarcastic smile. I allowed myself to feel the fear that had consumed me over the idea of living on this earth without my sister, who battled her own cancer by my side, or of leaving her behind, with no sister to screen her future dumb boyfriends with judgmental prowess.
It changed me. Cancer changed me. That morning, sobbing in the grass changed me. It made me grateful for life in a deeper way. It made me look at life without the glib coat of sarcasm that I wear so well. Since that day, I have been different, I have slowed down. I don't yearn for the big adventures as much as meaningful experiences with my family and with the friends I hold dear. It has made me want to be around the people that encourage me to be a better person when I am around them and so I hold tightly to those friends and family. Their love makes me cling ferociously to life, making life long memories as we go.
Today, the world said goodbye to a man that no longer has that opportunity and the only way to pay tribute to him is to live life as beautifully as he did. So, I will squeeze my daughter tighter, I will kiss my husband longer and I will wrap my arms around my friends and family and make certain that they know that I will cherish every moment I have with them. I will grab life by the balls and I will live ferociously brave, I will dance like no one is watching and you should too...it make the world a brighter place.