How do I love thee.

My journey over and beyond the cancer seas.

A dear friend was right. She once said to me that there is the time before cancer, and then there is the time after, you change forever and you can never go back. She was in that moment showing me some photos, from before and after her breast cancer foray. If I’m honest I can’t say I saw a mass of difference in her in those images. Its only now I truly comprehend what she meant. You have to have been here to understand.

Its not a discernible thing. I mean, the physical marks of this journey change you. With hair and breast and loss of nerve sensation in the arm and around the scar. But that’s not what she was referring to. Its much more subtle. Like an ephemeral butterfly that you find alive in the midst of darkest winter and you know that its life is limited. For to set it free would freeze it. And to leave it will bring certain death on an indoor radiator. But the butterfly has no idea, it just is. Believing, trusting. Just like we all are until we wake into the cancer winter. That innocence and belief in the spring is gone. And when or if it returns you are another creature entirely.

Let me be clear. I am finding massive resilience and strength that I never knew I had. I recognise my beauty and I really do know how much I am loved. My creative expression is explosive, my truth with me and ready to be offered as needed. I am in a warrior training of sorts. Yet, I will never be able to go back to the me before. Its like a dream of someone I almost sort of knew. She was naïve somehow, lost, unformed. And perfect in her own right.

I have wondered about the types of folk who have the same cancer journey. Are there types? I sometimes think that there was so much untapped gold in me that perhaps I needed the rocket of this to unearth my fullest potential. Not that I ever imagined this scenario. And frankly its a bloody shit show transformation style. I don’t feel I chose it but maybe it chose me. I guess I will never really know, but in daring to ask the oddest of questions, I am finding a kind of peace.

The real blessing of wandering cancer lands this past year is discovering how much people love me. I did know. But the magnitude of the outpouring from friends, community and family has been utterly awesome. I really hope that if you find yourself here, you also find how treasured you are too. People have touched into the light of me. Their remembrances and actions kept a centre around which I was able to come asunder and reform again. Its humbling. It gives me hope for humanity. We do pull it out of the bag when it counts.

Why is it that it takes illness, injury or death for us all to speak of the love so clearly? I am curious. Is it because folk traversing these arenas remind us of our own mortality? Our own place in the schemata of our life? What I mean to say is, can we find a way to love this clearly. Right now. With the others in our lives? When they are full of health and vitality? Can we show the same support and grace without the need for a crisis to open us up? We have such a lot to learn, haven’t we? So insignificantly small in the eternity of the universe. And yet so rich with depth and love.

Wonderful humans. Love you all.

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