I’m not going to write my own post today. I’ve had a hard, emotional week for many reasons, some I’ve written about and some I havent.
I’m grateful for my Husband. We promised each other to love each other “No matter what”. And we continue to love and breathe and hold each other…
No matter what.
This morning in one of my groups, it was written that another giant in the arena I have found myself thrown into has died. I’ve lost count of the death posts this week, especially after my Leila.
The other admins of this one group wrote this status today. It’s better than any words I could have written. Every word spoke to my heart.
I could have written this for my Leila and my Alycia.
Any of us in this arena could have.
I’m not sharing the names of those who wrote this, as it was in a private cancer group. But man… I love these women for putting into words what is in my heart.
“It is with a very heavy heart that we say
a earthly temporary farewell to one of our admins here and a truly beautiful soul. I’ve had to take a moment before writing this and processing it.
These are always double sided moments – full of sadness for having to say goodbye but also of deep gratitude for having been able to call such a kind human – friend.
“D” was always a light and voice of faith, hope and encouragement here in this space – in all the groups she entered – and in her life. A gentle, yet strong spirit that was – and will continue to be a pillar of strength in my life and memory – and for all those that knew her.
“D” was wildly generous with her time and knowledge. She was kind and considerate how she mentored and shared her knowledge and supported others as they figured out their own unique way through this maze called cancer and life.
She walked through her life and this healing journey with grace, wisdom, courage and hope. Always, always, always, hope.
It’s a crazy digital connected world we live in today. We can find true friendships and interact daily with someone – and yet never have met In person because of FB groups. We can share some of the hardest moments we may walk through in this life – the shadow and swamp days – the tears and hard days of this journey and yet also some of the beautiful days where we brainstorm, share each other’s lives and high five with good news and life moments that we learn – matter the most.
If you and told me three years ago I’d have some of my best friends be hundreds of miles away In different states and never meet them – I wouldn’t have believed it. But that’s exactly what has happened. As many of you also know and experience. It’s a gift – no doubt. But also a challenge. But then isn’t that all of life’s “good stuff”?
We hold space with and for each other here. We hold sacred space for healing that – IS – absolutely possible, while also walking together as a tribe through the spaces that scare us and eventually also transform us.
There are no words that soothe the loss when when someone leaves this earth too early. It never gets easier and always takes time to mend the human heart. Not that it ever fully does mend. Though I know and personally believe in something bigger than this life – it’s always still hard and I have to collect my breathe.
I had someone say to me the other day – “isn’t it hard to have friends in the cancer world”. And I had to stop and think about it a moment. The truth is – we didn’t ask to be in this tribe. No one raised their hand and intentionally said “pick me – pick me”. And the truth is – there are days that are a struggle – and yet there are days that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. We join this tribe and somehow we are all knit together by something in common – yet still very unique. We belong to a tapestry of stories and have to face similar things and make hard decisions and process some of life’s deep topics that we’d all prefer probably NOT to process until we are 100. And maybe not even then. But here we are. Connected by something we cannot touch – but somehow feel. Even though we may all pick up different narratives of the story and process it differently. We all seem to grow and change in different areas. But there is something that fundamentally connects us and somehow makes the journey lighter – by just being here together. In here we can find others that understand the path and all it’s chaos – when those around us really can’t. We help each other remember the bigger picture and the hope and help each other back-up away from the cliff and swamp moments and realign, refocus, and stand back up when we fall down. There is always a hand to help pull us up. There is Always someone that can say – I get it – I can’t fix it – but I am here too. We remind each other we can do this and will sit with you awhile and remind us we also must stand back up, dust off and keep walking. Keep exploring. Keep living. Keep healing.
This is life’s sacred work. It has moments of terror and moments of utter supernatural peace – if we just keep walking. It’s a birthing process and it’s laborious – it’s painful, it’s exhausting some days and yet it is also full of moments of clarity and moments of connection and moments of calling that would not have happened in any other life experience. But we are among amazing souls that journey with us. “D” was one of those. She walked, she stumbled, she focused, she stopped and helped someone that was struggling along the way.
She modeled the example – even on the uncertain days – of how –
We learn to LIVE anyway.
We HOPE anyway.
We LOVE anyway.
We find PEACE anyway.
We fall – we stand up.
We feel fear and we learn to continually release it – and we don’t let it steal not ONE more moment of any more days.
This IS the work. And I tell you – it takes grit and reservoirs of courage and badass raw bravery. And – we do it. “D” did it. And gratefully – we can do it together on the heavy and tired days – and the good!
We know in this tribe we will walk through some loss. But life is always full of loss if we are living and loving and sharing ourselves. Isn’t it ? Cancer – or no cancer. The longer you live – the more you will love and therefore also feel the hurt of saying a temporary farewell.
So yes – in this tribe –
We will walk through some land mines and uncertainty and some struggle and some dark nights of the soul as we figure out our paths and our way through the maze of healing – In what ever form and path that takes. There are gut wrenching days – like today and hard decisions. Days that cause me to pause and release some of the sadness down each cheek through grateful and saddened tears that say “until we laugh again my friend” – to someone I loved. I haven’t found an “easy” button to walk through any of it – but I have gained (and continue to work on) the skill of knowing gratitude always shifts the shadows. Always. Gratitude for knowing, loving, laughing, remembering, and honoring the sacred space of friendship and human connection. I believe this is our human purpose actually. So if I truly lived – then I will also feel the pain of saying goodbye. Which means I risked love – which means I shared my heart. Which means I lived well. And that is enough for me.
So – today I (we) will shed some human tears. I (we) can/will send our friend our love – because I know she will feel that. I will honor her by living my fullest life. I will honor her life and all that she did to embrace LIVING.
I will focus on hope because that is where our strength is. That is what “D” lived in her spirit.
I will support another human that’s walking on this journey – because there is power and healing in walking together.
I will remember to love more. See more. Be present more. I will have more gratitude sprinkled through this one life we’ve each been given. I will gently tell fear “thank you for showing up – but you don’t get to take this day or anything in it. NOT TODAY”. I will consciously remember – no matter how messy, no matter how steep the trail feels some days – We are not alone. We are NEVER alone. We have “D” and many, many, many more beautiful women that have walked and walk with us – and many others to continue walking with us. We have each other. We have our selves. We have choice. We have love. And LOVE heals – I tell you – it does.
In honor of “D” – I will smile more. Hug longer. Feel deeper and risk love. And I will continue on. One step at a time. I will not define my life by the label of cancer – because NONE of us are cancer or even the cancer journey. We are mothers and daughters and sisters and friends. We are human beings and have walked through all that comes with that. “D” didn’t lose a battle – she stood up in the midst of stormy winds and wild waters. She stood against uncertainty and found faith and hope and scattered it where ever she went. She stood – Day after day. She stood. In courage and grace and she LIVED.
So often when we have someone leave us – we question and look for the why, for the – ‘what we could do different’ and wonder and try to explain it all. We try to outrun the fear. But we have to remember that we are all on our own paths. We each have our own story and find our own way. We have our own purpose and our own whispers of the soul. We have to hold faith. We have to explore and uncover our own music. We have to do our own inner work because when one heals – it affects the whole.
I also want to say – that when someone leaves this earth too soon because of the body struggling with any illness – they did NOT fail, they were NOT lost. They did not lose. To summarize ones life as a “lost battle” – diminishes the years of living that existed. It dilutes the magic of the soul that walked through the years that they were given here – How ever many years they had written in their story. And it makes my heart heavy to hear someone say they “lost their battle with ……” anything actually. It may just be me – but no matter how I exit this life or at what age – I know personally I want to be remembered as someone that truly and authentically lived the years and the days I was here. That I was and am a spirit and energy that visited this space and lived and shared and loved. That I failed and learned, I fell and stood back up. That I screwed up and made amends. I listened. I tasted. I touched and I experienced. That I cried and I laughed my ass off. That I took pictures and shared my heart. That I dug into the dark places that scared me and faced them and allowed them to change me. That I felt pain because I felt and allowed love. That I felt peace because I felt and allowed fear and sat with uncertainty. That I felt hope because I looked for it – intentionally. That I woke up each day knowing that This life was perfectly imperfect. That I said sorry when I hurt someone. That I let shit go. That I tried to own my shadows – AND my light. That I held babies and lovers and friends and family and that I truly saw life’s sacred moments and that they changed my soul. That I wrested with shadows and eventually walked through them and transformed them to light. That I walked this earth – and do walk this earth – with the help of Spirit and tried to pay attention. That I was a baby, a child, a teenager, a woman. That I was many, many, many things while playing here in earth. That I held many titles – and touched many lives but none of it was who I was at my core essence – because we are all bigger than we could ever imagine. That I was once upon a time – diagnosed with what this life calls cancer – but I am and NEVER was cancer. And that I absolutely do NOT want my life summarized or titled with anything to do with cancer. Cancer is a process and a storyline. No different than any of the other storylines and chapters in my life’s story. So many things in this life are just a “process” – But never shall I be lost to or defined by a process or event. Because I am NOT a process or an event or a story – and never will be. I am so much bigger. We all are.
We all are were born.
We all will leave this life. Hopefully – with lots of wrinkles and worn out. But the truth is – No one is guaranteed tomorrow and we never have been. I know this. We in this tribe know this as we’ve had “go there” – and we have had to have that internal conversation as part of this journey on some level. Life has always been full of uncertainty. That didn’t change before a diagnoses or after – it’s always been there, we just didn’t need to really wrestle with it. That uncertainty is the root of a lot of fear. Or has been for me. And though I’ve not mastered sitting with uncertainty myself and practice that every day – what I do know and what I always go back to in the hard moments – is “what DO I have control over amongst the mess? What is true and what do I absolutely know” – And I remind myself – I can control what I DO today, what I think, and THIS MOMENT and how is see it. I can be here right now – that’s it. I can breathe in and out. I can plant possibilities and can water it instead of fear. I can love. I can be grateful. That’s what matters. And it absolutely changes the moment – which changes everything.
This is where my spirit goes when I have to process saying goodbye to someone in this physical world. It’s where I go on testing days and when fear creeps in and nudges all the inner gremlins. I remember all of what I have. I remember gratitude. I remember the WHY – in why I am here. I see the courage in another’s journey as they showed up and faced something hard and held hope and faith – anyway. And I add their picture to my memory and to a special folder (literally) – to remember to LIVE deeper. I remember that life is life – it’s Messy and unpredictable and yet we still get to choose how we walk through it. We choose what we focus on and what we see and the energy we leave behind. And “D” – the one thing she protected and voiced and echoed most often was that she purposely focused on hope. Which changed her days and how she interacted through them. And THAT is the journey. That is courage in the raw form. That is success and triumph and completion.
Sweet “D” –
We love you.
We honor you – your courage and your life. All of it. All the magnificence of the whole journey.
Thank you for your love – kindness, example, and grace. Thank you for offering friendship and heart to so many. We will miss you in this physical world – but are grateful you are free.”