I recently read this blog which was inspired by a French friend of mine who I met via Sparkpeople.com. She said to me just a few minutes ago that I should read Dr Viktor E. Frankl’s book, “Man’s Search for Meaning.” I immediately googled the book and was instantly intrigued.
When people describe their personal journeys with grief, they often realize that those grieving go through very similar emotions, practically the SAME emotions. But each emotion is felt differently, at unique times, for various lengths. No grief process is the same. Each loss contains its own scenario: a setting, a time, singular or plural characters; tragedy on its own terms.
I know that I do not walk this journey alone, but how I experience it is completely on my own. I view each emotion of my own will-while someone else may be deeply angry at a point of loss, at that same point I may have been distressingly sad. Once I hit my moments of anger, another person may have been acutely aware of their loss and the secondary losses that came with that emotion.
I also know that my grief is quite singular. It does not mean that others have not felt this same grief, but all in different moments, in unique ways, with a much different perspective: mother, friend, acquaintance, complete stranger. Through witnessing my journey, many of you have carried with you a sense of my loss.
Those who read my recent blog with Johns Hopkins, who had previously knew of my story, were still left in tears reliving the intensity that I once experienced. You sniffed a fragrance of the moments I experienced while losing Kevin. You felt those emotions-maybe not as intensely, but you felt them just the same.
Questioning my meaning for life-my losses, my struggles, where I am now on my grief journey and my attempts to reach out to others, I question my walk more and more. These moments of loss in my life may not define me permanently, maybe. But I think they will. I believe my life will continue to be woven with loss and cancer, and I believe that somewhere in that is a deep meaning, is the cause for my existence.
I no longer want to look at this as my “cross to bear” or my deep burden of loss, but that I am here and may experience continuous loss and cancer on every turn of life, and there is a reason and a purpose for this existence. I am branded by these difficulties, but I am strengthened by those who survive despite them.
No Catholic am I, but an Angiosarcoma patient and friend of mine introduced me to the Patron Saint of Cancer, St. Peregrine. While journeying to California just 6 weeks after Kevin’s passing, I picked up a memorial card like the one above, and it gave me a bit of hope. I do feel like there’s a team of spirits up there watching down on those of us who walk this journey of loss and cancer, however that journey may end.
This is my meaning in life I do believe. To find love out of the grief and cancer that has infiltrated my existence. There’s good coming out of it, I just hope that those doors continue to be opened, and that people are changed in their own existence, by my journey.