So Here We Are

Rose Meditative by Salvadore Dali

It’s almost a year later and what a year it has been. Last December, mom and I were preparing for her double mastectomy. She had received her diagnosis in November and we were doing our best to handle the whirlwind of tests, information and emotions. Initially mom didn’t want to tell anyone. She needed to process things and I didn’t argue with her. Besides I felt the same way. Cancer is a huge thing to have dumped in your lap. You wish you could ignore it, but it’s like a schoolyard bully blocking your path home. You have to be willing to confront it, get through it and hope that you make it to the other side.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like confrontations. I didn’t like them in school, when I had to face flesh and blood schoolyard bullies, and I don’t like them now. That doesn’t mean that I’m not willing to go toe-to-toe against someone in a verbal debate if I have to, it’s just that I’d rather discuss things calmly and negotiate a solution.

You can’t negotiate a solution cancer. The only happy solution is when you know you’ve beaten it. I don’t know if cancer survivors ever feel completely cancer-free, but for mom and me, I see us as cancer-hopeful.

Last year at this time, we had no idea what we were in for; we were scared about the surgery, hoping that the cancer would be contained and a slew of other hopes we were afraid to feel hopeful about, along with questions and a heavy dose of fear. Now we’ve gotten through all of those things, along with the loss of my dad, and it’s been tough. It was tough, because no matter what I say or how strong I try to be, we were living in fear. Now we’re living in hope.

Let me say this again; we’re living in hope.

That is huge. It is a huge and wonderful thing. In spite of everything we’ve been through, at the core of our lives now is hope.

We hope that the doctors are correct and they’ve gotten the cancer, and we hope that mom will continue to get stronger. We also hope that we never have to hear the word “cancer” again unless we choose to say it, but most importantly, we hope that mom’s cancer will never stand in either of our ways again and dare us to confront it.

This past year hasn’t all been tough. As I’ve written before, I am blessed with some wonderful friends. I’ve had friends before, but when something big happened, they disappeared. These friends drew closer to mom and me until it was impossible feel anything but blessed by their presence. I have family that live close-by, but for the most part, they have made themselves unavailable to help mom and me with anything. My friends are closer to me than my family ever has been.

One of my aunts loves to say that blood is thicker than water, but my friends aren’t water. My friends are better than blood. They are my true family and I will love them forever.

Many of you have contacted me and I can’t tell how much you mean to me as well. When I started this blog I had no idea that anyone would read it. I just knew that I had to find some way of processing this experience. Thank you so much for sharing your cancer journeys with me. You have honored me more than you know.

So here we are one year is ending as another one begins. None of us has any idea what this year will bring, but I wish all of you hope, health and the loyalty of true friends and loved ones. There will be tough times ahead, but there will also be blessings. That is the nature of life after all.

I wish us all the very best for the coming year.



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8 Responses to So Here We Are

  1. KjM says:

    Hope – is the thing with feathers, as Emily tells us.

    Rachel, I wish you and your Mother a hope and health-filled New Year. Comparisons are not always valid, for we each have our own journey, but my cousin is living cancer free after surgery (not as severe as your Mother’s) some three years ago.

    My best to you, -KjM

    • Blackbirdsong says:

      Thank you Kevin. It’s very true that every cancer journey is unique. I love that poem, and thank you for sharing it. I’m glad your cousin is well. That gives me hope as well.

  2. Here’s to hope! Wishing you and your mother a better 2011.

  3. Carol says:

    Dear Rachel,

    I too am glad for you that this year is over and your mother is doing so much better than last year. Watching her laugh with joy at Lois’ antics with the singing dog today, she looked young and happy and you wouldn’t know that she has been so sick. She was really enjoying herself.

    This year has had some incredible joy for me and of course some of the old despair always lurks around the corner. But when I get to hold my sweet little grand babies, I am in grandmother bliss, and when they go home, I’m in grandmother depression. I put a picture of them on my screensaver and every time I turn on my computer, I get to see their sweet little selves. I am grateful that Sue sends me pics on a regular basis.

    Okay, enough of that grandmother stuff!

    I hope this coming year brings you joy, my dear friend. You will just have to put up with my baby love.


    • Blackbirdsong says:

      I love the baby love, and it’s great that we’ve had blessings this year. Yeah mom was cute today, and I loved Lois’ dance. She really is one in a million. I wish I had her energy.

      Love you Carol

  4. christel42 says:

    Rach ~ I am so grateful that your Mother and you could have a holiday free of stress, at least for the most part, because you deserve it. Hell, you’ve both earned it!

    • Blackbirdsong says:

      Thank you Christel. I’m so glad your mom is doing better too. Glad to see you back online after all this time. You’ve been missed.

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