Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Remeberance and Reflection

Today (well, yesterday actually), April 7, is a day of rememberance and reflection for me. Twelve years ago today, my best friend passed away of lung cancer. She was sixteen years old. I have written about her on here previously, so I won't go into a lot of detail. Today has a little more meaning for me this year than in the past, obviously because of my current situation. I remember exactly what I was doing when I found out she had passed--and what I did afterwards. They were not good things. I was an angry teenager up until that point, and maybe even for a time afterwards. Cilla's passing showed me, even then, that life is too short to spend angry, or vindictive, or regretful. Yet, I seemed to forget that just a few short years later. It has taken my own battle with cancer (among a few other things) to jolt me into realizing that the people who are important to me will always be important to me. Many of you I am back in touch with after a long while, and many of you I have stayed in contact with. I consider myself very fortunate to have friends, a boyfriend, and family who all care about me and aren't afraid to tell me. Yet still, I feel there is something missing in my life. I don't feel as if I have used the time I have been given wisely. Yes, I went back to school and that is a good thing. I've surrounded myself with a lot of good people and that is also a good thing. I should be using my time to benefit others and give back to not only the community in which I live, but the cancer community as well, and I don't feel as if I have done that. I've pretty much been sitting around the house, doing nothing but feeling bad that I can't attend school.

I see things at the cancer clinic that get to me. I see people there, getting treatment alone with no one there to support them. I see a few people with no hope in their eyes. I see people who don't know where to turn, people who don't understand what they are facing, people who are scared and confused. What really gets to me is the kids. The little ones who never did anything to deserve the burden of cancer. I would have cancer ten times over again if it meant that one child wouldn't have to go through this. I mean that. I really, really do.

It is those things that always make me think of Priscilla. She always had a smile on her face, no matter how bad things were for her. She helped a lot of people during the short time she was here. Even today, I draw strength from her. She inspires me often. I keep a picture of her on my desk (always have). She has on a HUGE smile, the same smile she gave everyone.

I believe that, when faced with adversity, people can do one of two things. They can either clam up and feel bad for themselves, soliciting pity from those around them, or they can draw strength from somewhere inside them to overcome the battle, and lend that strength to others when they are faced with adversity. That, really, is the basis of the human condition. For me, giving up was never really an option. I don't necessarily feel as though I've given up (not by a long shot), but I feel as if I'm sort of in this place between knowing what "I" am all about and being in limbo about it. I'm even considering a different educational path. I'm not having an identity crisis (that ended long ago, somewhere in my earlier 20's), but more of a "path" crisis. Which way do I go? I thought I was sure, but I now have a doubt. When cancer is all done, what do I do after that? I have this crazy experience for others to draw upon, I don't want to waste that. I think that dealing with this would be much more difficult if I did not have the new friends that I have--people from whom I can draw strength.

So, I will stop waxing super thoughtful now. It's late and I have some tea to drink, thoughts to ponder, and dogs to get to bed.

Priscilla Lorraine Eberle, I miss you terribly. It does not get easier with time, as I thought it would. It just gets dealt with in a more productive manner. Not a day goes by that you don't cross my mind. Your strength is now what I draw from, and I hope you know that you inspire me every day.

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