Wow, I realize I am a little late to the game here – a brand New Year! 2016 is here and new possibilities and hope are in front of us.
I have so much to say, I am just not sure how to organize my thoughts and prioritize. A New Year and the possibilities weigh on me heavily. I look forward. And first and foremost, I am so grateful. But, I can’t help but think of the ones we’ve lost. I have been so fortunate along my metastatic breast cancer journey to have met so many incredible souls. Whether it was through retreats, conferences, via email or a message board or maybe even at my own cancer center. There is an incredible sisterhood out there. An incredible community. A warm, compassionate, unbelievable community. I am blessed to have had the privilege to meet so many in this community. I have been blessed to listen to and tell stories of hope, sorrow, frustration, peace and many times see the end of the journey. The last few months have been flooded with the latter – so many leaving this earth. Mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, cousins, nieces – all of these roles wrapped in beautiful human beings who lived life courageously in the face of death. It’s so hard but it’s so amazing to have walked with them just for a bit. I can only feel peace and comfort knowing the cancer has left them. I send peaceful, loving thoughts to their families who now must deal with that horrific absence of love and hope.
As I reflect on the new year and the old year (2015) I am again finding myself unbelievably grateful. So grateful for the love and positivity of my people around me (you know who you are….anyone reading this!) Until recently, I don’t know that I told you all how grateful I am. My family is blessed with an incredible community around us. So much LOVE. That love was on display recently when our family had the good fortune of a life-changing trip made possible by an organization called Inheritance of Hope (www.inheritanceofhope.org). We left an all expenses paid Disney vacation with new friends, new hope and a restored appreciation for just plain old – love and empathy in the human race. This organization they brought us all together, life-changing friendships for my husband and I – but more importantly, our kids. They showed us unconditional love, they waited on us with care and tenderness. Our “Lauren” was a godsend to us. My girls speak of her as a family member. Three days, she had three days with us and left that type of impression. Pretty unbelievable, pretty selfless, pretty special. There is no “thank you” for what this organization did for me or my family.
We left this retreat and since we got home, I feel myself pausing as the sun warms my face, in the car or in my kitchen, I am feeling that warmth. I feel myself mindful of the love around me. Whether it is that friend that walks with me everyday, or that friend that texts to see how that doc appointment went, or that friend that sits back and has a beer with me when I finally feel like talking about that PETSCAN gone awry. Maybe it’s that new connection who FB messages me late at night and shares their hopes and their anxiety. I’m feeling blessed. I once had a wonderful, incredible friend tell me (on the way to Madison on a school field trip) that, “Kate, you are a connector. Plain and simple you bring people together, I love that about you,” she said.
Am I connector? Or I am just lucky to have connected with so many. I’ve been so blessed that people connect with me.
Feeling cautiously hopeful as far as treatment goes. But feeling blessed by so many of you. Thank you. Cheers to an incredible happy, healthy, joyous 2016. And to those leaving this world – love and peace for what comes next.