Two years ago I self published a book called Healing, Hope & Wholeness that openly and honestly shares my experience with cancer. What is my experience? I have never had cancer, but my mom was diagnosed 3 different times over the span of 13 years.
When I started writing my memoir/biography about watching my mom go from strong to weak and back again, I did it because I wanted to help others know that they aren’t alone in their heaviest moments of life. I desired to make grief and loss a more approachable conversation because for me personally, I know I experienced more healing with more talking instead of tip toeing around the forbidden and sensitive subject: death. I also knew the power of true stories, because I think we all crave a little more “real” in our lives.
There were doubts and insecurities when I started writing and creating outline after outline of my life. The death of a parent and watching a loved one battle brutal cancer are two separate and tragic things to go through, but I know, unfortunately, that there aren’t the only painful experiences that someone may face in life. So I asked myself, why should I share MY story? It’s not the craziest story.
What kept me going, and still does, were the many times someone I knew closely or a complete stranger opened up about their life altering lows, with me, and how they dealt with it. Every bit helped because it was genuine, and it gave hope whether it had an ideal ending or not.
So I wrote a book, a book about my mom who was my best friend, role model, and encourager. Past the true storyline of a deeply careing individual who fought hard, who died, and who left loved ones in heartbreak was a story of a woman who was driven to make every single person feel loved and noticed…. a woman of faith…..a woman who genuinely was concerned with others more than herself…a woman who knew quality time would leave the biggest imprint on someone’s life….It was a story of living to the fullest despite the worst case scenarios that could come at any second.
I believe whether or not we have similar stories, we all have one, and therefore we can all learn from each other. I’ve learned a lot as the daughter to a cancer patient. One of those things being, whether you’re in the hospital bed, or you’re the doctor, the spouse, the nurse, the friendly visitor with flowers, or the family member relentlessly at the bedside, sleeping on the uncomfortable hospital recliners, you have choices. There are and will be forever, hundreds of choices set before you. What will you choose for your story? Strength, joy, or persistence?
She was a story of living, not just the breathing kind.