Over the course of the pandemic and for the 2 years preceding I've been on a very intentional journey of healing. If you've followed me over the course of the last several years, you may remember the shitstorm that was 2016-2018 that included a couple sexual assaults, losing my partner of over a decade and my physical health deteriorating to the point where I could no longer work. By comparison the pandemic has been an absolute cake walk, but I digress. The point is that after 3 years of physical, psychological and spiritual rehab, I've managed to carve out a new way of doing life.
Through various mental health programs and support groups I've met many people through my healing journey who have become more dear to me than I ever realized.I found out this past week how precious this new community of peers has truly become when I was informed that one of the members of a support group I've been attending has cancer. This hit me so hard as I read their email at work that I started crying right at my desk. The old version of me probably wouldn't have let themselves cry, but I did because of how significant a role this person has played in my life over the past couple years without me even realizing it.
It's incredible how when you meet with people on a regular basis and share your experiences in a safe environment how much of an intimate bond you form with them. Even outside of the meetings, I was able to reach out to this other member for support when I needed it. They asked nothing in return and helped me get through some really difficult times. I am forever grateful for the role they played in my life, and the prospect of losing them to cancer is terrifying and I'm am profoundly angry and sad at the injustice of the situation.
Unfortunately, cancer is a cruel part of this physical existence and I don't have any control over who gets it and who doesn't. If I listen to what my anger is telling me, it's telling me "do something" about it, but real question is, what can I do? Well, after giving is some thought I've decided to write my friend in my program to tell them that their existence in my life is significant and they've made a positive impact in my life personally. By sharing their experience, strength and hope, they've inspire me to make changes in my own life that in turn have also had a positive impact on the people around me. Writing my friend this letter won't change the fact that they have cancer, but nothing I can do will change that.
The only thing I really can do after reflecting on this tragedy is honor my friend's life by living each moment in the present and making the best of what I have in my current circumstances. There's no point in getting caught up in thoughts about how life isn't fair, because it's not fair and I have no control over the randomness of existence. What I do have control over is how I respond to what life throws my way. I have resolved that life is to short to not have fun. It's too short to spend my emotional energy resenting people and circumstances that I have no control over.
This past weekend I went to Tofino, BC on a mini vacation and decided that I want to learn how to surf. I did it and it was incredible! My response to the unfairness of life and my inevitable aging and death is I'm going to live while I still can.