Cancer Sucks: Lessons Learned Thru Loss
Last Thursday, the FitMommas and I helped our friend bury her husband, and it was one of the most painful days I’ve ever experienced. This is the same friend who’s husband I blogged about at the beginning of the summer in my Skin Cancer PSA. Who knew at the time that he would live only two months longer, and how this event would shake our foundations to the core.
It’s been a stressful summer as it is, and in the world of blogging, you’re supposed to blog through your highs and lows, that your readers want to know what is going on with you, wonder where you’ve gone when you disappear. While I promise to work on that in the future, right now I’m owning my feelings and the subsequent neglect of my blog(s.) In addition to watching my friend say goodbye to her husband, my stepdaughter moved back to her mom’s house 90 minutes away and my first born started Kindergarten. In fact, all of that happened within 10 days of each other, and to say I was emotionally strung out would be a mild understatement.
But there are lessons to be learned when devastating events hit you. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:
1. Life is short. In a mere seven months, Chris was diagnosed, endured aggressive treatments and eventually succumbed to melanoma. What if that was you? What would you change about your life right now? What are you waiting for?
2. You have to take care of both your body and your mind. This morning, my dear (and awesome and beautiful and gracious) friend Elise over at Inspired Balance asked me how I was doing, and after giving it some thought, I realized that it could have been much worse. I have been honoring my sadness and anger, spoke to my friend that is a pastor, and leaned on friends; but I stopped exercising and eating right. (Hi, half a bag of cookies in a five minutes!) It was not a full fledged meltdown, but now I’m definitely feeling the affects of not taking care of my body.
3. Cherish life’s moments. Our circle of friends may not ever be the same, but in some ways, that is good. I actively chose to spend time with my family rather than blog many times over the past month. I’m taking the time to call friends when I feel they may need to hear me; reaching out when I need a lift; hugging my family just a little tighter than I did before. A little extra snuggle time with your baby or stopping to watch mother nature together is worth more than any dollars earned.
4. Honor your struggles, then move on. Someone will always have something worse going on than you, but your struggles are real. Acknowledge them, honor the feelings you have, and then put your big girl panties on and move on. I’m not one to dwell for days (or weeks or years!) on things, I like to tackle them and move on. But I understand that this can be difficult for others. You do no one any good, especially yourself, when you remain stagnant in a situation. Remember Lesson #1.
5. Make a difference in someone else’s life. One of the best things to come about in the past few months is Chris’ Crew. We’re a group of friends and family of Kristina and Chris who’ve come together to raise money to help pay their medical and living expenses. We had no idea where these events would take us when we started, but now we feel like one big family, leaning on each other while helping my friend and her children. Chris already saved one life – my fellow FitMomma, Gina, whom I mention in the Skin Cancer PSA – and hopefully we’ll save more by spreading the message of melanoma awareness through Chris’ story. The power of Paying It Forward is amazing.
I’m sure there are other lessons to be learned, but this is what I know today. And as for my body, I’m forgiving myself the solid month of physical neglect. I put a new workout plan into effect today, and it felt good to feel my muscles burn and my sweat glands kick in during my high/lo intensity workout on the stationary bike this afternoon. Tomorrow I start an aggressive two-day a week strength training plan that will undoubtedly kick my ass the first few sessions. And it’s all good.
So Much Love to each and everyone one of you today. I hope that I’m back to blogging daily, that I’ll ease into this new groove and you’ll be along for the ride.
What’s been on your mind lately? Heavy, life-altering topics, or fun-in-the-sun stuff?
What have you been cooking this month? I’ve got nothin’ for ya. That’s why I’m asking you.
If you could change one thing in your life for the better right now, what would it be? I’m striving to get out with the family every evening. It’s going to be cold before we know it, and I’m going to wish we’d spent more time together outdoors. It’s a small goal, but an honorable one. 🙂