Yesterday was a rough day. Funerals are never fun. They really should have called them something else, like "saderals" or something. I learned that Aunt Theresa was wearing one of my bracelets when she died, and she took it with her to the great beyond. I cried when I heard that. It's so touching and beautiful. I hope that she shows God when she sees him and tells him he needs to heal me. Maybe he will want one too.
After spending the day with family saying our final farewells to Aunt Theresa, I went to visit my priest. There's an interesting thing about faith. It finds unusual ways of validating itself. Yesterday, I had two such instances.
After Monsignor and I met and prayed, he handed me two things: one was water from lourdes, and the other was a prayer card and a medal of the Blessed Pope John Paul II. Now, I know this might be an unconventional declaration in the blog-o-spere, but I always loved Pope JP2. He was essentially the leader of my Church for the majority of my life. When he died, I cried. I remember getting up at 4 am to watch his funeral, grieving from my new living room in Toms River. I was sitting in a camping chair because we hadn't bought furniture yet. To me, he was a beautiful soul. He just seemed peaceful, compassionate and kind, a true Christian. I referred to him as "Popey". Some might think this was irreverant, but to the contrary. It was meant to be a term of respect and love for the spiritual leader. When I saw the card, calm washed over me, as though he was somehow interceding on my behalf. And when I read the first line of the card, I smiled. It was perfect. It said "Have no fear of moving into the unknown. Simply step out fearlessly, knowing God is with you." GASP! Good choice Monsignor. It fits more than you may realize.
The second thing that happened was that I received a phone call from my brother late last night. He told me a friend of his co-worker was just diagnosed and asked if I could help her with doctor information. I jumped up, grabbed my files and went into go mode. When I hung up, I realized something. This was my first chance to pay it forward. I felt sad for her and wished I could do more. But I felt powerful against cancer, like I was helping another woman in her first step to beating this beast. I don't know what will happen to her or if I will ever know more about her situation. Either way, it was a positive feeling. A new sister had joined the ranks, and with someone in her network having heard my story, I was able to assist her in some small way. Wow! For the first time, I felt a bit of confirmation that this will be my calling: to help others.
I hope to continue that mission. I want to be a beacon of hope for others who will struggle with the news in the future, just as my survivors have done for me already. If I can be that for someone else, perhaps the pain and fear will be worth it.
On another note: surgery is just days away. I can see it on the extended weather report... Somehow, this is not as exciting as when you can see your wedding day, or an upcoming vacation the report, but none-the-less, it's a milestone. Several people have inquired how best to get updates and asked if I will be blogging. While I think it would probably be entertaining for me to "blog under the influence", considering I will be out of it and on a pain pump, I have asked my brother Frank to be a guest blogger while I am out of commission. He will provide medical updates and also if he's feeling up to it, some of his own perspectives as someone who is affected by this beast secondarily. He's a professional folks. I am sure he will keep you informed and perhaps entertained. Many of you have seen plays that he has written, and know he has a way with words...
No pressure FB3! ;-)