It seems like a person who’s faced cancer ought to have something to say. If they faced it, survived it, and did it without giving in to despair, then surely they have a perspective that a healthy person wouldn’t. I certainly think this about someone who’s lived a long life and now faces their death. I think, “I bet they have a few things figured out,” and I wonder what they would tell me if I asked.
In case you come to this blog expecting something like that, I thought of you the other day. And I do want to tell you something.
It had been a particularly trying day. I was tired and concerned about little things that don’t really matter and will probably work themselves out eventually whether I worry over them or not. So I did what I do now in stormy moments like those. I went to the kitchen to clean it, and/or to cook supper for my boys – even though I don’t really like to – and I turned my iTunes to my Favorites folder so I wouldn’t hear any of the rock songs Michael chose for their nostalgia factor. Because both the cleaning of a kitchen and the soothing notes of my favorite songs have the power to completely air out my soul and return it to me better. The combination of the two is simply magic.
As I uncluttered the counter and the music uncluttered my soul, I realized I was listening to a song my sister-in-law sent to me after my cancer diagnosis. I used to play it over and over, especially in the evening, and watch a slideshow of my boys as they had grown, and I would cry and cry and release every single fear and dramatic emotion I had bottled all day long. “Surely the Angel of the Lord is around me . . .I will not die, but live / to tell what he has done.”
And that’s when I thought of you. Because the same song getting me through Monday today (or Wednesday or sad day or hard day or too-far-from payday) – that same song used to get me through cancer and the kind of fear and sadness so great that it sits in your throat like a pill too hard to swallow.
People have said that cancer is lonely. But I didn’t find it so. There were too many people who rushed to my side to make sure I wouldn’t be alone. We were focused. I was attentive to my spirit and well-being like never before. Every moment with my children was the greatest one yet. Michael was my rock. I clung to my faith, my family, my friends. Cancer isn’t lonely at all. Mondays are lonely.
Don’t be amazed that I went through cancer still smiling. If you want to be the center of attention and receive gifts and cards on any given day and feel like the most important person in every single conversation, get cancer. If you want to feel alone and on the verge of giving up and pretty sure that if you did, no one would admire you – have a Monday.
I just wanted to tell you that. Whatever your particular mountain, it’s the big one. And if you can face it and learn from it and come out of it trying to give more away than you took, you are the person to be admired. And you’re someone with a heck of a perspective.