"Don't spend time worrying about how you are going to die. Worry about how you are going to live today"

Saturday, June 6, 2015

A Different Perspective

It has been six months since I have written anything.  Sorry for the long delay but the good news is that life does return to normal after breast cancer and I am just busy with everyday life stuff!  It's good to not be consumed with cancer talk and crazy thoughts all the time.  I won't say that cancer talk and crazy thoughts aren't there at all, but as time goes on, the amount of time spent on this stuff in my daily life gets smaller and smaller.  I know it will never go away completely, but I feel like I have come to a place and have accepted the "new normal" and it's OK.

Now when I talk of cancer, it is usually because someone else I know is going through it or going through another type of tragedy in their life.  I notice that the things I learned by going through breast cancer have offered me incredible insight, understanding and compassion for others no matter what type of tragedy or bad thing in their life they are experiencing.  I feel I can speak from a place of understanding that I never knew before breast cancer.  There is a sincere empathy and place in my heart that reaches out to someone as if I can actually feel their fear and pain.  I just feel a different connection to those around me when they are in a time of need and for that, I am thankful.

Before breast cancer, I always thought of myself as being empathetic, caring and the type of person to help someone in need.  I guess I did the best I could, but now I realize that it my ability to feel these things and act on them is at a whole new level.  Instead of saying nothing to someone because I don't know what to say or saying something like "it will all be OK", I find different words that are more comforting.  I can say "I know you don't know what the future holds and I won't tell you it will all be OK but I will tell you I am praying for you and here for you to talk or help".  I can not just slough off the pain, fear and sadness they are feeling and move on with my day..it really touches me and I have this deep sense of empathy that breast cancer taught me. 

As I go through day to day life, I am continually touched by family and friends that are in a bad place. One good friend lost her husband 6 months ago and she is left with two small children.  I watch her struggle and "feel" her sadness and uncertainty about the future.  I hate when people on Facebook post "you are so strong" to her....she's not strong, she's scared and worried.  She is doing all she can to just keep it together just as anyone would in her situation. I never say "you are strong".  I tell her she is everything to her kids and her best will be enough for them.  They will feel her love and it will be more than the love of two parents that are here.  I remind her nothing is perfect but I grew up with only one parent and while I always missed my father growing up, I see what an incredible job my mom did of raising three kids and am so amazed now that I am a parent of what she accomplished by herself. 

Life is hard and I guess that going through breast cancer has taught me so many things that I do think about every day.  I have learned that life is short and before something tragic happens in your life, you take things for granted.  I have learned that the little things people stress out over are not worth it.  They hold no place in "the big picture".  I have learned to "let it go" when people are unkind or bitter about petty things.  I also have learned to pray for them in hopes that they will "figure it all out" without a horrific tragic event in their life to put it all in perspective.  I know I move forward in a place of greater empathy, kindness and concern for others.  I have learned to try to see the good in the world and people.  I have learned to reach out to others in a time of need instead of staying away because I don't know what to do or say.   I am not perfect....never will be, but I have grown in so many ways since my breast cancer experience.  Those of us that have breast cancer always say "breast cancer is the gift that just keeps on giving".  I guess it does just keep on giving, but in so many ways and not all of them are bad.   Some are powerful in a good way.  :)