I spend a lot of time struggling to find a way to gather all of these feelings constantly running through my mind.
I spill them like hot tea over the pages of my journals.
I spend a lot time up and down with my moods and the way I look at the series of events that have lead me to this corner of my couch in the home I share with my now Hubsband. Yes I am aware that that is not a real word, and, no, I do not care.
I whimper or weep uncontrollably in his arms when the realities of this post-cancer life feel far too overwhelming.
I spend a lot of time in a tug-of-war with my thoughts and my writing. As I try to navigate their parts and to figure out which parts of my life I want to keep sacred and close to my heart, and which parts I want to share with the world.
I walk through the stories in the halls of my mind, searching for the right words to describe the smell of the bleached linens in my hospital rooms.
By the time I’ve gone through all of these motions — on a regular, almost daily basis — it seems that there is no time or brain power to actually do the damn thing and write the damn book.
I drink pots of coffee hoping that a jolt of caffeine will spark the creativity in me, but all it seems to do is yellow my teeth.
I hope that its warmth will warm my soul, but all it seems to do is contribute to the quivering of my hands.
Seasons have changed and so have I
The first autumn is long gone now — A season of anniversaries of the most harrowing moments of my life.
And oh did we celebrate — One year down and many more to go.
Some days were hard — I wanted to scream. I wanted to throw things out the window. I wanted to wake up from the nightmare of a cancer diagnosis and just be a normal 20-something girl. I wanted to go to Canada for Christmas but my body and my doctors would not allow it.
Some days were magical — I felt grateful for the beautiful days spent with family and friends. Grateful for the life I was granted. I started going out more, meeting new people, getting serious about my writing. I even planned a damn wedding!
Winter ended with my parents in town, and spring began with a bang. I finally married the love of my life, the only constant in my every day. I dedicated myself to a long, healthy life with the only person who has seen me at my lowest of lows and highest of highs.
And now I write because I need to.
Day in day out, I talk about writing. I dream about writing. I make plans. I journal. I read about writing. I write about writing.
But all I really want is to write about those moments when I wasn’t sure of my writing, let alone of life itself. Moments when I knew I couldn’t let go, when I needed to fight to make it to here and now.
And oh how I am grateful for my husband and for the littlest things he does to make my (writing) life possible.
Like the time he came home with a gift, for no reason other than it reminded him of me. It was a journal, one of many I’ve acquired since.
Or the time he came home with a small desk that fits perfectly in our walk-in closet to make my dream of a little home office come true.
Or the time he took me on a week long adventure to a tiny cabin in the Belgian woods because I needed an escape from the city to be with myself and my writing for a few days.
And day in day out, my husband encourages me and supports me to do the damn thing and write the damn book.
Writing it has reminded me of the most important things I’ve learned in the last few years:
To love, support, and cherish those who love, support, and cherish you.
My husband wrote his Masters thesis while being my primary caregiver in and out of hospital.
To accept and hold sacred the fact that the people who are in your life and who hold you up when you feel like the earth is crumbling beneath you are often there because they want to be.
I never understood why my now-husband stood by me through the thick before we said our I dos, or why my sister uprooted her life to be here with me. Now I know better, I know that they did it simply because they love and hold me sacred in their lives.
To never take for granted the little things your mom or bestie or sibling or partner does for you.
I have learned the importance of out-loud-appreciation after all that my loved ones have done for me. Like being there when I was at my weakest just to share the space with me while I rested, or bringing me Fanta and Sour Cream and Onion Pringles when I wasn’t allowed to leave my hospital room. Or when my husband stays in bed 5 extra minutes with me so I can finish reading a chapter before we start our day. Or how my family always gave me the space to be my own person regardless of how much they want to coddle and protect me.
Last, not least, and most simply:
To always remind your loved ones how much they mean to you.
Because you can never predict a cancer diagnosis, or a heart attack, or a car accident. And if you fail to tell them, I promise you’ll regret it.