What a week. Full of emotion and memory making.
It’s been such a joy to reconnect with everyone here in the Pacific Northwest. To collect and give hugs. Catch up on life. Say thank you. Even in my short time living on Bowen Island, I managed to forge some pretty terrific friendships. And it feels great to be back again, picking up right where we left off. The Bowen community is truly a special one. One I feel privileged to be a part of.
Bowen also feels good on a physical level. My body is relaxed here. My soul is comforted. Nature surrounds you wherever you go. The salt air… The ebb & flow of the waves… The glorious mountains… Walking through the rainforest… Listening to the birds… I don’t need to set aside time for meditation while I’m here, life on Bowen feels like one never ending meditation session. Aaahhhh….
But this week also brought with it some serious emotional upheavals. Including the loss of yet another young mother to cancer – Vancouver resident, and friend, Charline Leith.
Charline was only 45. She was a wife. A mom to two beautiful boys. A sister. A beloved friend. And so much more. And she was taken way too soon. Her brother wrote a beautiful piece about Charline for her obituary that speaks to the feisty, fun, and caring soul that she was.
I attended her memorial service at the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club – along with 300 other people! The celebration of her life was beautiful, and emotional. Charline and I were both diagnosed with stage 4 cancer at the same time (her’s a recurrence of ovarian cancer, mine an initial diagnosis of breast cancer). And to see her go only 9 months later was really hard to swallow. Even though we were never close friends, I felt connected to her because we both were in the same ‘late stage cancer club’ together… We both have young kids… She read my blog… Auntie Cole kept us informed about each others’ ups and downs in our respective cancer journeys…
But I was unsure about going to the service. I had some definite survivors guilt going on. Would people be upset to see me there? To see me living after Charline was gone?
Losing Charline was also a reminder that my cancer could also roar to life again, ravage my body, and take me away.
Interestingly enough the radio show I did for CBC on this topic – living with the fear of death – is set to air tomorrow night. The series is hosted by Christy Ann Conlin who is a beautiful soul and a skillful interviewer. Check it out online at the CBC Fear Itself Website.
If you’re in Canada you can listen to the show on CBC radio one at 7:30pm on Monday August 13th and again at 9:30am on Thursday August 16th (I assume all times are Eastern Daylight Time). For those of you not in Canada, you can listen online at this link after the show has aired tomorrow.
People often ask how I continue to stay positive while living with metastatic breast cancer and the ever lurking fear of death that accompanies it… What I’m finding is that the world is full of positive people living and thriving despite debilitating diseases, heart wrenching upsets, and unfortunate circumstances. I’m not exactly sure how we do it. We just do it.
Tomorrow is not guaranteed, so I am making a conscious effort to make the most out of each and every day… To notice the beauty that is everywhere around me… And to appreciate the hell out of it
Peace. – T