Living in cancer world made a permanent change in me. I’m not just talking about a personality shift. I’m talking a change that is buried deep in the core of my soul. I lost something the day Leroy was diagnosed. The night he died, that hollow space stretched to a breaking point. Since then, I’ve gone through all the stages of patching-up the wounds and I think I’m in an OK place now, but I’m still different.
I’ve met so many care-givers who are like me. They know we have no choice but to go on and make a life without our loved ones. Some do it better than others. I applaud those who really start over. They find a new relationship. They build a new life with a new partner. They take the old pieces and tuck them away, I mean really bury them. Life, love, living is what they do with no signs of ‘sad.’
How do they do that?
I was with a couple yesterday…they’ve lost both their children to cancer. We were working together on a Hopkins project, so I really got to talk to them about living with that kind of loss. They have the means to set-up wonderful foundations honoring their two kids. The dad said something that caught my attention; “We have chosen to stop mourning their deaths and instead do something that will help others who have cancer, live longer, healthier lives.”
I have no doubt that this is their mission in life now. And they will save lives. It’s a fantastic gift.
We spent a lot of time together. I caught flashes of who they used to be before cancer. They shared old stories, laughed together; real glimpses of who they were a long time ago. And then, they’d come back to the present and the “twinkle” would disappear.
I get that. I know how that happens. WE all change.