I am struck so often about how beautiful and painful life can be at the same time. Emotions are very rarely mutually exclusive. It is funny how you can be going through an unbelievably difficult time while, at the same time, making extraordinary connections and beautiful memories. I often think about the saying that says, “Nothing lasts forever”. How very true. Nothing good lasts forever. Nothing bad lasts forever. Life is a constant ebb and flow.
It is so important to look for the good, even when life is hard. I am in month 21 of being a widow. I am heading into the hardest time of the year for me. I was diagnosed with breast cancer 2 weeks ago. In a few days, I will be having surgery to remove the cancer. Once I heal from surgery, I will start radiation treatment. The worst of it will be happening right around the second anniversary of Bob’s death. Life is hard right now, to say the least. Way more hard than anyone deserves.
I am angry. I am angry at Bob because he chose all of this for me. The anecdotal evidence shows that grief causes major illness by tanking our immune system. So, the grief and the pain and the cancer and the struggle are all because he chose to end his pain. I would love to say that at least he isn’t struggling anymore but that is not really how I feel right now. Right now, I am furious at him for choosing this for me. He left me more pain and struggle than he could have ever imagined. He was selfish. He told me he loved me more than anything but then he chose this for me. UGH.
At the same time, there are wonderful things happening in my life. I have made some absolutely amazing friends. I have reconnected with old friends. I have more love and support in my life than ever before. I feel more emotionally and mentally stable and healthy than I ever have. The therapy I have been doing is definitely working. My relationships with others and with myself are proof of that. I am handling the news of having breast cancer better than I would have in the past. I feel more happy and grounded and loved than I ever have despite the current shit storm in my life.
I fully expect the next few months to be extremely painful, both emotionally and physically. I fully expect that I am going to struggle. I know that there are going to be really hard days. I also know I will laugh. I know I will find things to be grateful for. I know that I will continue to nurture my relationships. I know that I will survive this current storm and that I will come out the other side stronger and better for what I learn.
I am not excited about more struggles. Being told you have cancer is scary. The anniversary of his death is so painful. Life can hurt like hell. It can throw way too much at you at once. Thankfully there is always beauty and grace and love and laughter to be found even in the worst storms if you are willing to acknowledge them. It is okay to scream and cry over what you are going through one minute and find something to laugh about the next.
Life is messy. Nothing is permanent. You never know when the next plot twist is going to hit. Find happiness and beauty where you can. Know that even the worst days end. Things won’t be awful forever. There is almost always good and bad, all twisted together. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that they are mutually exclusive. Grab hold of the good with both hands. Be present. Be grateful. Let yourself feel what you need to. Breathe. Take it moment by moment. Love more than is reasonable. Life is hard for all of us. We don’t get out of this unscathed. Appreciate the good. It is always there, even on the worst days.