It’s a concept, an aesthetic, and a worldview. It’s also a phrase that doesn’t translate directly from Japanese into English, and the ideas behind it may not immediately translate in the minds of those who haven’t encountered it before. Put simply, it’s an intuitive way of living that emphasizes finding beauty in imperfection, and accepting the natural cycle of growth and decay. The best way to learn about wabi-sabi is just to accept that it’s there – and to begin noticing examples of it in one’s daily life. –Laura Alta Language Services
Back in April, I was sitting in my Doctor’s office being prepped for a needle biopsy due to irregularities found on my annual mammogram. The procedure itself was not as bad as I had anticipated. The waiting for test results is almost always the worst part of any procedure. That week happened to be the third anniversary of my sister’s death from breast cancer. She was 54. My mom is a 20 year breast cancer survivor. Her mom, my grandmother died at age 30.
A few days later the call came in, while I was at work, to let me know that I had cancer. It was a Friday morning. Somehow I made it through the day. We had a previously scheduled get together with our friends. I decided being with our friends and our kids’ friends would be better than sitting around teary eyed trying to process this unexpected diagnosis. I wanted this experience to be as positive as possible for my boys. At one point Carson asked “Mom why are we having a party because you have cancer?” I explained it wasn’t because I have cancer but in spite of it. This was the week Prince died. I painted my nails purple put on my kick-ass cowgirl boots and we sang, danced, played apples to apples and hide and seek and celebrated his spirit. I also decided that I would choose purple as my cancer fighting color in lieu of pink.
The next few weeks were filled with calls, appointments, genetic testing, and scheduling, and sharing the news. Telling our friends, family, volunteers, and work mates was painful. Austin was so brave, extra helpful, and kind. Carson rubbed my back and kept me laughing with his sharp sense of humor. Dean promised this only made him love me more. Our family was unwavering in their support. My work and church family could not have been more supportive and loving.
One day early on I received a package from Anna my niece. In it was a little monkey. I had given Vi a mama monkey and a baby monkey to help her in her treatments. Vi carried the baby monkey with her to all of her appointments and procedures. It sits next to me and my computer right now as I try to share this experience. My niece Phoebe sent me a beautiful picture of her space in Chile it shows a “TherRistra” of cayenne peppers from her farm. When Vi was still alive we spent a few fun summer nights stringing chile ristras.
At the end of the school year we had a lovely family vacation to San Diego. We spent a lot of time on the beach listening to the ocean, playing checkers, eating yummy food, and enjoying each other. We had a bit of a harrowing experience returning to Denver the night before my surgeries–think planes, trains, and automobiles.
On June 7, with my mom, Dean, and Melody at my side (and countless other supporters in spirit), Me and my purple toenails had a bilateral mastectomy with the first phase of reconstruction. The procedure itself went as well as can be expected. Later, my nephew Craig kept me laughing and sharing his heart with me. Sweet Jessica, with the voice of an angel, sang me to sleep that first frightful night.
One of the most difficult parts of all of this was having to look at my surgery sight for the first time before leaving the hospital. Dean and a wonderful nurse helped talk me through it even though I thought it would be impossible.
The pain, discomfort, and fatigue is pretty extreme but I feel like I am on the right side of my recovery. Most days are better than the ones before.
Dean, Austin, Carson, Mom, and Dad are the best caregivers a person could ever ask for.
My dear friend Joelle helped me get back into a running routine a year ago when we reconnected after not seeing each other since high school. We ran almost 10 miles a week and talked about everything. Even though I can’t run right now she surprises me with visits and inspiring talks. Sharon my spiritual adviser always helps me to remember to breathe and remember what I can do instead of what I can’t.
ALL of my friends, church family, and volunteers, work mates (especially Susan and Erika) continue to blow me away with their kindness and support. Their thoughtfulness and generosity have helped me more than I can express in words.
…….”The truth about human beings is that we’re broken. The larger truth is that we heal. The even larger truth is that we heal each other. We have the power, often by the simplest of acts, to help each other heal.
The miracle isn’t the healing. The miracle is that one person decides not to stand aloof from another person’s pain. The wonder isn’t that people are healed, it’s that they’re loved like that. The greatest need we have is to be treated with care, treated like human beings, but because that’s so rare, when it happens it seems miraculous.
We say, ‘If you have your health, you have everything.’ That’s not true. Some people aren’t healthy, but they have something many healthy people would gladly trade for—people who pray for them, accompany them, don’t forget them: a circle of care. In such circles even people facing death may experience a kind of healing, even the dying find the blessing of life.”…….. Mary Luti
I’m struggling a little bit with finding that kick-ass cowgirl spirit that I had upon my initial diagnosis but everyday it grows and seeps out in one form or another. I am determined to dance again and as Viola often said “never trade joy for fear.”
- Ring the bells that still can ring
- Forget your perfect offering
- There’s a crack in everything
- That’s how the light gets in.
Leonard Cohen – Anthem