My time, during these past 3 months was entirely monopolized by home-schooling/virtual learning. Day after day for 70+ days I sat next to my son guiding him through his assignments, helping him grasp new concepts, ideas, and subjects, as well as organizing and prepping his assignments for the following day. With me by his side, he progressed rapidly in reading, writing, and arithmetic, and we discovered new passions for drawing, doodles, music, and dance. It was exciting to witness the academic and creative growth in my little 6-year old, but it was also wearying. Every single day I kept busy being my son’s instructor, mentor, principal, pal, and mommy. I was forced into multiple roles, and it was hard on us both.

As the month of June arrived, I found myself struggling to cope with the demands. The emotional and physical expectations took a toll on me, and I felt exhausted, drained, and dazed. I was also in a very vulnerable place. I was hurtling down memory-lane, reliving every date of every test, every biopsy, and every appointment that inevitably led to my diagnosis and surgery. It was a 22-day mind-numbing journey that I traversed; and 5 years later I did not commemorate the milestone. Instead, I busied myself with the multiple roles demanded of a parent during this unprecedented time, avoiding my thoughts and feelings, and neglecting to honour myself.

The days were slipping by, yet I did not stop to reflect. I did not stop to think of what this 5-year milestone meant to me. I suppressed the feelings, too exhausted to process them, which resulted in sleepless nights and tiresome days. Then, well after midnight, and a mere 5 days before my 5-year cancerversary, I received a private message from a person I did not know. Debbie. She simply asked if she could send me a card. A card? I read, then re-read her request. It confused me – why would someone who doesn’t know me want to send me a card? Curious, and incapable of sleep, I utilized social media to learn about this person who was making such an unusual request. I took a moment to read her story and I was moved to tears. Yes, I emphatically replied.

Debbie’s story is one of friendship, love, honour, compassion, and kindness. She creates beautiful cards filled with words of encouragement. It is done in loving memory of her childhood friend and sister-in-law, who began the project – Soul Light Cards – when she was courageously fighting her own fight, which Debbie now lovingly continues in her honour. She offers words of encouragement, support, and hope to cancer thrivers/survivors, packaged in a beautiful, personalized card. Personalized, because Debbie takes the time to learn about the recipient, then creates an image that tells that person’s unique story. She wanted to send a card to me – a card that bore my story. I was – am – so honoured and grateful that she chose to share this gift with me. She chose to commemorate my milestone when I was incapable of doing so.

I recently received my card – my extraordinary gift – in the mail. It caused me to pause – to finally pause – and reflect. There was one simple yet powerful word adorning the front – Victory.

Victory. It sums up these past 5 years. Although I often do not feel victorious, I know that I am. I know, because I had the courage to fight, to keep going, to live within the unknown, and to live with fear by my side. I keep experiencing, choosing joy, and sharing laughter. I keep dreaming, creating, writing, and sharing. I am living my life just as my Oncologist had encouraged me to do. This is victory.

“Know you are loved and live every day like the miracle it is.” – Debbie Towery, Soul Light Cards

It is my story. It is my victory.

Victory. Published by Crystal Joy Hall

Card Design: Soul Light Cards

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