Right here. This moment. I have finally arrived…. at the time in my life where I can say kind words to my body when I see myself in a photo, and in a bathing suit nonetheless. What a victorious feeling, a huge weight lifted from my energy source that I unnessarily carried with me for many, many years. This beautiful body that has served me 44 years to date, and for that I am most grateful. I now treat this home for my soul with the respect it deserves. It has proven time & again that it wants to heal and has an incredible capacity to do so. I wonder if parts just are to difficult for it to heal completely, but I will carry forward with all my strength to provide it the nourishment & help it needs to continue supporting me. I embrace every flaw, for they belong to me, they are mine & I earned them. Every dimple, every stretchmark, every freckle, every bruise, every scar and so on, they simply remind me of where I have been, what I have done and what I can handle. I’m sharing my feelings with you today in hopes that you one day, can and will embrace your body with the same unconditional love. It is after all, the only place you have to live.
Photo taken @ Vedado Beach, Naples, FL
Living with cancer.
Feb 15, 2015
How I look today, Feb 14, 2015
I have now celebrated the 5 year mark since diagnosis.
Still holding on, with so much to share with you.
Yes, I have not posted in almost a year, it was time to let go and just be.
Allow me to share an incredible meeting with you.
I would like to introduce you to my new friend Cathy. We met on the weekend. We don’t know much about each other, pretty much first names and recent experiences and that’s all we need. Here is how we connected…
Every year in April, my partner and I attend a local charity fundraising event called “Festival of Giving”. I love the title, it’s so in tune with what I do on a daily basis. Giving is my specialty (with words and emotion, not money) and I’m still learning how to receive without feeling guilty or unworthy, it truly is a process.
So our evening was full of seeing people we don’t see very often, socializing, dancing, participating in a fun night out. I was extra grateful this year because it was the first time at the event that I wasn’t in the middle of chemotherapy or other treatment. I do not drink alcohol but I felt like I was drunk all night long. Rick even noticed that I wasn’t myself. Why? Well it’s taken me three days later analyizing through my exhaustion that I must be experiencing a “love hangover”.
All night long I was hugged. I love hugs, don’t get me wrong. Shh…. don’t tell anyone my secret, but when I hug someone, I borrow some of their inner light and energy to fuel mine. Sneaky of me isnt’ it? It’s my special coping mechanism, one of the tools in my shed so to speak. I admitted this to my friend Steven at the party and he said that it was a very nice thing to say to him after I thanked him for his energy embrace. I’m all about recognizing the caregivers in my life, so I told him my secret. Maybe he will hug someone and remember my tool to help him in the future of whatever he struggles with?
Embraces of love were bountiful that evening. People that I hardly know, but they’ve heard of my battle, went out of their way to express their cheer and gratitude that I am doing ok at the present. All of the positive comments made me feel so light that I swear I was floating or flying. Flying high = love drunk. My kind of over-dose! An emotional high!
I believe that things happen for a reason.
I also believe that the true meaning in life is to find our gift and that the purpose in life is to give that gift away.
My gift is to give, always has been, always will be… even as a fighter/survivor.
The emotional strength that I received throughout the night had lifted and prepared me to meet Cathy toward the end of the evening.
The event was held in a large convention centre and it was in a huge room. Each table seated about 10 people. I don’t know what pulled me away, but I decided to go for a walk. A walk to the other side of the enormous room, I guess maybe to see if I could recognize any friends to say hello to. I was first greeted by Ed. We hadn’t seen each other since the 8th grade. He recognized me right away, hugged me (yay..another score) and said keep up the good fight! He said he was aware via Facebook. We chatted briefly and then there was Cathy and her friend making their way to their table.
“Oh my, I absolutely love your necklace,” she says to me. I was wearing a new necklace that my Mom gifted me. She found it in Florida as a thank you for dog-sitting Maggie while she was on vacation. I love it too. It’s a large, silver statement piece. Mom said it spoke my name to her when she saw it and decided that it was meant for me and brought it home. It is angel wings that drape and join together to form a heart shape with an additional heart in the top center to join the wings. It’s stunning!
Cathy and her friend proceed to share with me their love of angels. Her friend has angel wings tattooed on her wrist. We connected instantly of course. An Earth Angel recognizes her peers instantly. Cathy’s eyes get heavy and wet and tears start to flow as she shares with me that her husband just recently passed on 2 weeks prior from cancer. I then shared with her that I have been fighting for almost 5 years myself and that I created my Earth Angels venture as a tribute to honour all of my caregivers.
We sat together at her table and we hugged several times. I asked her to share her husband with me and to tell me about him. My eyes stayed pretty dry (that’s a miracle in itself), I felt strong to lift her, I was tapping into my love drunkiness to share it with her, kind of a pay it forward moment, and feeling all of those that lifted me that night as if they were sitting right at the table with us. She shared with me how she sang to him while he slipped away, and how much she misses him. All understandable of course. I felt so much empathy for her as a caregiver. It truly is the toughest role in any fight for life story. We hugged again, a super long one, and I took her hands in mine. I gave her my Earth Angels card and invited her to my blog and my new project (to be announced in May). I asked her permission of course to share her photo and story with you today.
She said some absolutely beautiful words to me and I feel they must be shared with my readers. Let me lead you into part of our conversation.
“I wasn’t even going to come tonight, she said. My friend kept urging me to go, to try to have some fun, to get out of the house, but I just didn’t know if I could do it, because last year when I was at this event, my husband was with me and I felt it would be too difficult to endure, it’s only been 2 weeks since he died”.
How can I lift this woman, I asked myself? Seeing my winged jewellery brought out that exact fear for her. Oh my, what can I say? Need some help here!… is the intention I put out into the universe, but in my inside voice of course.
“I am so proud of you”, I replied. “I have lost several loved ones as well, two legged and four legged, and what I can share with you is that it doesn’t matter the length of time since we parted, our pain is still raw and never fades, we carry them with us always, we are caregivers.” I empathized greatly with her, realizing that her toughest role as a caregiver is now to share that role toward herself. I explained “it’s okay to take care of yourself now and you will find your way. That is the part about losing companions we love and that’s the part that gets easier with time, it’s not the grief, but the shifting of the caregiving. We devote all of our time, energy and strength to care for our loved ones in their time of need that we forget to take care of ourselves.”
“You are the reason that I was meant to come to this party tonight, thank you”.
I am so grateful that my path lead to Cathy that evening. I had no idea that the Festival of “Giving”, would turn out to be the Festival of “Receiving”.
Let the healing continue…
Do you know this handsome guy? If you don’t, you are missing out, so please allow me to share him. Today I am celebrating him just because I feel like it and it’s on my “want to” list today. He was the first person in my life to really push my buttons, to make me so agitated to the point of no return. What’s really amazing is that I now realize that the little boy verson of him was really a precious gift to me. I didn’t know it then, in fact I admit I really didn’t like him very much when we were little because we had such different energy levels. I have come to realize now as an adult and reflecting back on our childhood that because he showered me with is high intense energy it really tested my relaxed, calm way of being. It was him, many years ago that taught me what I was actually made of, how much patience and pain I could really endure. I now know that I am not just made of sugar’n spice and everything nice, but I can allow anger and stubborness and warrior state of living to fuel my energy to fight to live and still be a loving, open, kind woman. It was he that helped me see that inside me.
By the time he grew taller than me, I stopped butting heads and ignoring him, I decided to embrace his extra energy and starting loving the person that I was lucky enough to witness transform from an annoying little blonde boy, to a driven young man who always will “live for the moment”. I envy his spirit! Now as grown adults, we have each other’s backs. It was he and his wife Michelle that gifted me with the title of “Aunt” for the first time and to show his love for me, he chose me to be Godmother to his first born, my nephew Austin, now 12 yrs old.
I am so proud to call him mine. He didn’t need me to set any examples of how to behave, he did alright on his own. We made a great team back then, stealing cookies from the cupboard and tying the package up very perfectly so that it still looked brand new from the grocery store, and sneaking Dad’s pocket change from his bedside table while he was sleeping. I have to say we make an ever better team now! I’m never afraid to express my feelings and I am very proud to call this wonderful guy MINE! My one and only baby brother… Dave Roy.