As I have said, many times over, I thankfully did not embark on this cancer journey alone. I was surrounded by love, kindness, compassion, guidance, and support. I had a community of people from near and far rallying around me, ensuring that I, my husband, and my child were kept safe and cared for, both emotionally and physically. Today I had to say good-bye to someone who provided me with a safe place to cry, a gateway into my inner-most fears and hopes, and techniques to aide me with my healing process. We completed our journey as a team – we reached the goals we aimed for – and I can’t help but feel a little sad.
My Social Worker was incredibly gracious. During each session that we shared, she gently led me through the healing process, allowing me my moments of worry, grief, and fear; and then she would guide me to workable solutions. She would discuss little goals for me to achieve each month, and also provide me with varying methods of emotional release when home alone. She encouraged me to take back the broken pieces of myself and work to regain my sense of self – my goals, my hopes, and ultimately my life. She helped me understand that, although I am a cancer survivor, it does not solely define whom I am. I am still me – a daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend …
And it is true. The end goal that you hope to achieve when battling through [breast] cancer is regaining your sense of self. You want to be free from the disease. You want to be recognized for who you are. You want to shout out to the world that you beat cancer – you’re strong, you’re a survivor, and you are still YOU. However, the problem with that, is you are NOT you. Not anymore. Battling cancer has changed you. It changes everything about you. And for some, that is where the anger, resentment, and fear kicks in because you no longer recognize yourself – physically or emotionally. It’s not the body you grew up with. It’s altered. It’s not the mindset you developed. It’s changed. And it is this journey that can be the hardest to go through because it does not end. Unlike treatments that have a timeline, this journey does not. There is no known timeline, for we are ever-changing, and ever-evolving.
It is this realization where my Social Worker aided me the most. As I mentioned, she helped me to pick up the broken pieces of myself and reminded me that I am still “me”. But she also reminded me that I am an altered form of “me” and that’s okay. It’s okay because life events happen, and they change us. They force us to grow, to learn, to transform. Whether the events we survive in life are good or bad, they are events all the same, and we will change. If we do not, then we cannot move forward. And what is the point of going through these events if we do not move forward and live our lives? Because remember, you only get this one life to live…
I am sad to know that our sessions together have come to an end; but I am so grateful to her for reminding me that I am going to be okay. I am grateful for her words of wisdom, her advice, and most of all her compassion. So thank you Terry. You rescued me when I desperately needed to be saved, and I am eternally grateful to you. Ours was a bittersweet good-bye.
Bittersweet Good-Bye. Published by Crystal Joy Hall