Every text. Every email. Every visit. Every act of kindness. Every gift, including my own copy of Call of Duty for PS3 (given to boost my fighting spirit — now I need to get a PS3 to really get into gear). Every prayer or positive vibe (depending on your world view), including a prayer written and placed in the Western Wall of Jerusalem.
And, because my gratitude goes to people all around the globe. Merci.תודה. Gracias. Danke. Obrigada. Arigato. Grazie.
I am definitely feeling the love. In fact, I am to the point of being overwhelmed and am incredibly humbled by the outpouring of support. Each and every one of you who has reached out to express your concern, to share your shock and thoughts on this situation, to offer prayers, and to let me know that in some way I matter to you, has contributed to lifting my spirits and giving me the energy to stay positive. I am sorry I have not been able to respond to everyone just yet. I promise I will; but please know that I have read and saved every written message, listened to every voicemail and opened/appreciated every gift.
Hearing from so many people has also got me thinking about a few things, which of course I will share with you because this is the Internet, and it has made everyone, even me, into a writer.
The reality is that when something like this happens when you are 37, everyone you have ever known is, for the most part, alive. In my case, this means there are a lot of people from different seasons of my life, from all over the world, who are now affected in some way by this experience and are reaching out. The last two weeks have been filled with sadness (and a lot of tears) but also an abiding appreciation for the amazing life I have had the opportunity to live so far. I am realizing just how blessed I am to have an incredible husband, to have traveled the world, to have worked at some of the highest levels in politics and business. But more than any of that, I am truly blessed to have my family, and the friends, colleagues and acquaintances made along the way. In fact, it’s these relationships that are the not-so-secret sauce that make all of my experiences (my life, really) truly special.
A friend pointed out that this is probably the first time many of us who are younger (because I think 37 is young!) have had something like this happen to a peer. It’s safe to say I will learn a few (ok, many) lessons about life, about death and about love, as I walk this path. But I also hope that my having cancer can be a catalyst for all of us to learn how to love each other better. Honestly, the world can be a tough and critical place. The last two weeks have shown me how ridiculous and short-sighted all of that really is. It doesn’t serve anyone and it really adds nothing to anything.
Finally (promise this is it) I feel more than ever like my life has actually meant something to people. I have to say, that feels pretty good in a soul-nurturing kind of way. I wish it didn’t take a cancer diagnosis for me to understand this. It’s not that cancer suddenly gave my life value; it already existed, I just didn’t see it or understand it as much as I do now. I am convicted that I don’t take the time to express what others mean to me in “real time.” Why is it so hard for us to do that? I guess because we’re busy, insecure, worried about tomorrow, and at least in my case, take for granted the idea that we have plenty of time to say those things later. I vow to do better.