September 28 will be 7 years as a Survivor for me. The most aggressive form of Uterine cancer. Oncologist told us that if it had not been caught that I would have had at the most 6 months & that it would have been the most excruciating death imaginable.
I was diagnosed with PTSD because of the cancer, Rick was my strength those first couple of years. Then when he died from kidney disease, survivor guilt hit me hard.
I still do not know all the reasons why I survived and he did not.
Nor do I know why I survived and so many others didn't. My heart continually breaks for the families and friends of those who have "won their final battle" with pain & cancer.
But no longer will I be ashamed that I survived. I will trust there is a reason greater than I can comprehend.
So, today, I will celebrate LIFE - - just as it is. Good, bad, and indifferent. Constantly changing. Amazing. Wonderful. Scary. Lonely. Beautiful mess.
So damn much.
I would gladly pay someone to wrap their arms around me, let me lay my cheek against their chest ...
and simply HOLD me.
For maybe 20 minutes.
Just quietly being held.
Let me rest.
Let me breathe.
Just Hold Me.
I am reminded of them every night, usually between 3 a.m. - 5 a.m.
This morning, I actually slept until 5:22 a.m.
But these were the words that came to me when I woke up, as I stumbled thru a darkened house. As I made my way to my computer.
Breathe. I've been here before ... every morning for over 4 years ... I've been here before.
"Trust that this struggle is part of the process."
That is something no one tells you ... the healing hurts. It is scary. It is lonely. It just simply hurts like HELL.
I know there is healing within my heart, deep within my spirit. I am different today than what I was 4 years ago. Oh, the grief is still there ... but then, it always will be. Great grief is indicative of great love. And believe me, you don't get over a lifetime of being in love with someone in 4 years ... or in another lifetime.
Mainly because I had Rick to be there for me, for 35 years, I rarely got the opportunity! :)
After all this time without someone to stand for me, defend me, protect and cover me ...
and all the hateful things that have been said to & about me ...
the physical bruises and pains ...
the emotional batterings ...
the times of being belittled ...
the shaming ...
being challenged & questioned in a way that stings and makes me draw back into myself ...
I am WAKING UP.
Being reminded of who I am, my value and my worth!
I am who I am because of the life I have lived.
Because of where I was born, and where I grew up - Texas.
Because of all the places I have seen.
Because of all the experiences I have endured & enjoyed.
Because of the people in my life - some have been blessings, some have been lessons.
Because of the one who loved me most.
Because of the ones who call me Momma, or Grannee.
I am no longer ashamed.
I am ME.
I've had enough of being disrespected. I can't make you respect me. Respect is earned, not demanded. But I have never given you a reason to disrespect me. I live my life with integrity and Southern grace. But disrespect me one more damn time and this Southern grace is going to explode all over your ass!
Enough of being stabbed by words and looks. Sticks and stones may be what breaks bones, but let me tell you - words and looks break the heart, and the spirit. But no more. I have girded my heart and my spirit with Southern dignity and grace. I have a guard about my heart that your words and looks cannot, will not penetrate! And since I am known as the "Queen of the LOOK" - look out! I will laugh at your sniveling attempt at "the LOOK".
Enough of being made to feel ashamed and sorry that I am a Texan - just because there are some assholes from Texas. Well, guess what? There are assholes in Kentucky and Idaho and Oregon and Wisconsin and New York and Alabama and ... yeah, the list goes on! There are assholes everywhere! Every community, town, city, county, state, & country. There are assholes! Just because I am from Texas doesn't mean that I am an asshole - but treat me like one ... one more damn time and see what you get!
Enough of being made to feel small because I survived Cancer and your loved one did not. I am sorry. I am truly and eternally sorry. I would gladly give my life for theirs, if I could. But I can't. No amount of compassion or being sorry, or even being ashamed that I survived, is going to give them back to you. Something I have realized in the last few days especially - - I didn't ask for Cancer. And me surviving did NOT take your loved one away from you. I DID NOT DO IT. IT'S NOT MY FAULT. So, please, stop treating me like I did something wrong by surviving. I have suffered enough with survivor guilt - I lived when Rick did not. I lived when so many others did not. I live today when others will take their last breath. I can no longer focus on "why" ... I must begin to focus on "LIFE" and living it to the fullest. If anything, I owe LIFE to my husband ... to all those who died due to Cancer ... to my children & grandchildren ... and to MYSELF. I have been thru Hell ... and I SURVIVED!
I know now that I can do this life ... even alone.
Rick gave me a strong and solid foundation to build on.
I hold to his love, his faith in me.
I still cry out to be his widow, to make him say, "You done good girl!"
If you are in my life, it is because I want you there.
Don't mistake my love and desire for your presence & your friendship as a desperate cry of need.
I can do this life.
Alone if necessary.
I love you.
I want you with me.