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It's been a long time. Some of the "old timers" here might remember me....
It was 5 years ago when I first came to bcsupport. I still remember the day I wrote my first post here - Jill had just gotten the news that her latest treatment wasn't working and she was almost out of options. Her brain mets were starting to cause seizures, and bone mets were causing her unbearable pain. She sat down with us that day and talked about what she wanted for Katie. She knew she wasn't going to make it, and we were the closest thing she had to family. As Jill put it, we were "the only people in the world with the capacity to love Katie the way she was meant to be loved." Our lives changed forever that day.
I think that was the first time it really hit me; before that, there was never a doubt in my mind that Jill was going to get better and be okay. Suddenly I was gripped with the realization that my friend was going to die, and I didn't know what to do. I didn't know how to help her. I didn't know where to turn for answers.
And that's when I found bcsupport. I found so many people here who cared and wanted to help. Everyone here was so kind and understanding and supportive at a time when I really needed that. When I brought Jill here and introduced her to this place, she instantly felt that same kind of warmth, and it made her feel good to know that you were all here. Thank you for being here for her.
I've been thinking a lot about grief lately, and missing Jill. Sometimes all it takes is a glimpse of something that reminds me of her, a flash of a passing memory, and I'm right back there again. For the longest time after she died, I wondered if I would ever be able to look at the world the same way again. I couldn't look at a beautiful sunset without feeling angry and bitter, because each sunset was the end of another day - and that meant time was moving on without her, and I hated that. I would see people laughing and going on with their daily lives and I would think to myself, "what's wrong with you people? Don't you realize the world just ended?" I refused to let go, because I thought that letting go meant forgetting. Eventually I stopped coming here because the memories of this place kept me anchored in grief, and I wasn't able to move on that way.
I'm stronger now. I still have days when I feel consumed; I'm still angry and bitter about what happened to Jill; I still hate cancer with all the passion I always did, and I wish to God somebody would find a damn CURE. But my life is full of purpose and meaning now. Jill trusted Jenny and I to raise Katie for her, and we are doing our very best to give her the life she so deserves.
Katie will be 12 next week. When she first came to live with us, she was a sad, frightened, and catastrophically broken little girl, so filled with grief and childhood trauma that I didn't know how she would ever survive. So much has changed since then. She still has her moments when the grief overtakes her, but most times she is strong. She has blossomed into a beautiful young lady now, with a cheerful personality, and an optimistic outlook on life that defies explanation, given all the tragedy she has endured. She is blessed with her mother's voice, and she sings like an angel. She reminds me so much of Jill, sometimes it's like watching Jill grow up all over again. I can't even remember what it was like before she became a part of our family. As much as I miss Jill and would give anything to have her back, I owe her *everything* for giving us the gift of Katie. Everything.
Well, anyway...anybody who wasn't here back then has no idea who I am, so they probably didn't read this far. But for those who were here then, I just want to say thanks. You were a huge part of my life at a time when my life was going in a direction I never wanted it to go. You gave me the hope and strength and support to keep going in that direction and come out the other side, and my life is fuller, richer, and more meaningful because of it. So thank you.
For those who still battle with cancer...fight on, and give it all you've got.
For the "old timers" who have fought it and won...thank you for staying here and helping those you can. Your words of support and encouragement matter more than you know to the people who come here looking for help.
And for those of us who have lost someone, may we always remember that life goes on, no matter how much we hurt; and that the fragility of life is what makes it so valuable and beautiful. Our lives are changed forever, but our loved ones are always here with us, as long as we keep them alive in our memories. Never forget.
Love to all of you,