Beauty is Everywhere

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

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5 Responses

  1. Well said Terri…beauty is everywhere. I’m trying with all my heart to live each day and push back the thoughts of a reoccurrence, only God knows what’s in store for us. You are doing a great job of moving forward, because we have no other choice!! Continue to stay positive and everyday I envision a healthy me and you holding grandchildren in our arms!!! Yes that far ahead!
    Blessings

    • Right on Miss Cindy!!!
      Having just arrived on this beautiful, magical island of Bowen, I am embracing each and every moment with my girls, my sister’s spirit and all those who loved her…
      Here comes Marisa!!!

  2. Gorgeous pictures — thought of you often while I was at Lake Michigan last week. My joy in being there was increased by knowing you were on Bowen with loved ones amidst the beauty there. Much love to all — John.

  3. I’m very glad that you went to the service… I’m sure you know you have nothing to feel guilty about, or really, worried about… but human brains can be messy places, where all kinds of weird thoughts can pop up. One of the big tricks is to realize that brains are messy, and just because our brain can form thoughts doesn’t make the concepts real.

    The thoughts are real – and sometimes they trigger emotions that are real. But that doesn’t mean that they reflect *reality*. And that’s what gets so confusing. It’s like the lug wrench joke.

    I’m also glad you’re in such a lovely place – I live near Seattle myself, and there’s some truly beautiful country out here. If only the *sun* would shine more often in Seattle, it would be perfect.

  4. Hi Terri,
    I loved hearing your voice, your words, your laugh on the radio. Ada, from the women’s group, would from time to time, say some words which cut to the core of my being, altering my awareness. One evening she said, “Coming to terms with one’s death is the central and ultimate work of all psychotherapy.”

    And thank you for the beautiful, joyful images of Miss M. and Bowen.-Jess

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