Before I really got into support and advocacy, my husband asked if I knew what I was getting into. After all, when you are joining communities of cancer survivors and caretakers, you have to know that the odds are high that you will become friends with someone who will die.
I thought about how I wanted to say that word…departing from this earth…become an angel in heaven…but “die” is simple and clear. Death can be a very scary thing to confront, but it depends on how you approach it. It’s inevitable. It’s a fact of life. It’s a word with only the power that you give to it. As everyone else who has had to face their mortality, I’ve put some thought into this. I wondered why I was never afraid of my own death. Yet the thought of the death of my loved ones is absolutely terrifying. I am afraid of the pain and loss that I would bring to my family, and I realize that it is the exact same thing that scares me about losing someone I love – “what am I going to do without them?” takes over and there is no right answer in how to move forward without hearing their voice, hugging them, or hearing them say “I love you.”
Today was a tough day. Never have I questioned so much whether I really knew what I was getting into. In the last few weeks I have seen many of my friends/family go through major surgeries, fail out of a therapy (treatment) and have to reevaluate and redirect, revisit the painful anniversary of a death, and the fresh wounds of just losing a loved one. My heart aches for each and every one of them.
So today I let my heart ache and cry with them. But tomorrow, in the words of my friend Belle Piazza…don’t retreat, reload!