Saturday, July 15, 2006

The light is much closer than at the end of the tunnel after all.

It's amazing and slightly scary to me that at the very moment when you think you cannot get any lower, when life's burdens are almost too heavy to carry an inch further and you feel like giving up, something happens that lifts you up again. In that moment, as you experience the 'upper', whatever form it comes in, the world seems clear and bright again. Hope is again found and your heart is open again and the tears cleanse all those icky dark thoughts from your brain.

My upper came in the mailbox this morning (after of course an intense cry out on the phone to the strongest women in the world, my mother). I haven't checked it in a couple of days and it had started to pile up, bills, more bills, credit card offers, and (happy dance) cards galore.

I am back to driving now, it came about in a not-so-conventional way, but nevertheless it is one more step closer to normalcy that I have taken. So I elected to return a dish and give a thank you note and check my mail. I was headed out to my mom's and the pile of handwritten letters silently beckoned me to open them. I gave in around the last quarter mile stretch and ripped into a couple envelopes. Lots of get well wishes and prayers and again lots of offers for help. But, the most intriguing had a return address of Bloomington and a last name that was, for the moment unrecognizable. The letter was a life saving vest for chemo, a note of things that the writer had experienced and learned. Specific suggestions for caring for myself and my treatment side effects including the names of products she used to keep her symptoms at bay (no lie, at the time I was reading this my ipod shuffle was playing that song..."I will not give up the fight, I will not lay down and die...."I am so terrible at song names and artists, but it was ironic no, it was terrifying(I got goose bumps) how I was reading the words and listening to the words about staying strong and not giving up the fight at the same time, it IS all a part of God's plan, me coming to the "awakening" at that exact moment) were documented in the note. She wasn't specific about her cancer or the drugs she was using, but she was specific about how she 'survives' this illness comparing it to being as manageable as someone who has heart problems or diabetes.

Two very important things I know I will take away from her simple act of kindness. I will know that I can and will stay positive about this whole ordeal. I will also know that I can help others in my future by sending the same kind of note. It is such a simple act that can really change a person's attitude and give her the hope that she needs to make it through just one more minute, hour, day, week, month, year, who am I kidding, LIFETIME!
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