Monday, 6 June 2011
Relay & Reality
This weekend was the Relay For Life and it was my first time participating. The team that I was on did an amazing job and together we raised almost $5000 for cancer awareness.
I am still processing the experience but it certainly wasn't what I expected it to be. It definitely was a time when I felt true friendship and support and I have never laughed so hard in my entire life but I had been told by multiple people that it was a truly "spiritual" experience and I think I missed that part.
I have to wonder if it was just me or if this particular relay lacked that aspect.
The opening ceremony was moving and a young woman with the same diagnosis as Nick gave a speech. She spoke of her diagnosis, treatment and multiple relapses and at that point I did cry because I know that remission doesn't mean a life that's cancer free and that thought sits like a lump in my throat. The fact is that in 20%-35% of cases the cancer returns and I need to find a way to live with that knowledge and continue to raise Nick as normal as possible. I need to try and ignore the fact that at any point in time we could be back in this situation again - how terrified Nick must be, what a thought to live with.
My Wondermom friends were great, I never felt that I needed to be strong out of fear of upsetting one of them and during the two times that I did shed some tears they simply silently passed me a tissue or gave me a hug.
I waited all night for some sort of epiphany to occur, to be so overwhelmed with emotion that I would be breathless but that never came, here I was surrounded by survivors, those still in battle and the people that love them and yet I felt next to nothing for the most part - I have to wonder if I'm broken.
Instead together with my friends we joked, played games, ate junk, laughed and walked for hours.
Next year I will participate again, having no expectations about what the night may hold, letting the emotion come to me or remain at arms length.
I waited for God to speak to me that night and I was angry and disappointed that he didn't. I think back to the girl speaking during opening ceremonies, through her tears she said that her stage III Hodgkin's diagnosis and everything that went along with it was a chapter in her book of life but it wasn't her whole story, after the cheers and clapping subsided my friend and teammate turned to me and sweetly said and she's still here to tell it.
Maybe I was wrong and God did speak to me that night but instead of shouting and loudly proclaiming his presence he instead decided to quietly whisper though the voice of a loving friend.