We have hope again in our family as sweet Mila has completed her 22 radiation treatments and she is doing well! It’s been a whirlwind starting a new job and taking Mila to daily radiation with the machine going down at times adding to delays and more stress. Cancer cannot and will not define and rule our lives. We continue to live and be healthy trying to survive in a world where we are simply unsure as to what causes cancer and/or what can and cannot be done about it.
This time of year also brings hope, the holidays. My beautiful parents whom I love dearly came to see us for Thanksgiving as they usually do all the way from Seattle with my Mom in great pain because she has to have hip surgery very soon. They came to visit us back in May before Ken passed and also for Ken’s celebration so they have visited now three times in less than 6 months. Since I started a new job I will not be visiting them for the Christmas Holidays but it’s a good time for refocusing and concentrating on work and my family’s health.
We had the traditional Thanksgiving meal complete with a farm raised turkey, no antibiotics, hormones, etc. and I was only able to eat one piece of meat. Some healthy habits remain which is good.
I saw a film awhile ago that touched me deeply that I wanted to share. I rented it from our local library, The Hedgehog based off of a French book entitled “The Elegance of the Hedgehog.” The story revolves around Paloma, a serious and highly articulate but deeply bored 11-year-old who has decided to kill herself on her 12th birthday. Fascinated by art and philosophy, she questions and documents her life and immediate circle, drawing hilarious observations on the world around her. But as her appointment with death approaches, Paloma finally meets some kindred spirits in her building’s grumpy janitor and an enigmatic, elegant neighbor, both of whom inspire Paloma to question her rather pessimistic outlook on life.
A quote from the film “We are all hedgehogs in life, but often without elegance” reminds me that we are all prickly on the outside and that we really don’t see or know people inside. It is also a touching love story and I absolutely love hedgehogs.
I am constantly told how strong I am, that people think I am strong but deep down I do not feel that way. One thing that I am sure of is the strength of love and the love that Ken and I shared and that I have for my family. I wish the world cared more deeply about love, relationships, and community vs. an emphasis on accomplishments, work and getting ahead. I just finished reading the book “The Art of Hearing Heartbeats” which moved me because of it’s love story. Love is really all that matters. Without this life would be a very solitary place without purpose and feeling. Sorry to be so philosophical but being alone I have a lot of time to think about things and what really matters.
On the caregiving side here are a few things which might help after your loved one has passed:
Establish a routine, make simple decisions, practice mindfullness and breathwork and quite simply focus on the now to take time to heal. The pain of death will never go away. Here is a nice quote my friend Mandy posted recently on facebook I wanted to share…
“The thing Is
to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hand,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weighs you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.”