Have We Met?

Is it possible to say “Thank You!” and “You’re Welcome!” with just one sentence? Is it plausible for someone to give and receive in the same moment? Is it realistic to say you know someone, if you haven’t ever met? These questions and their answers (Yes! Yes! Yes!) prompted me to ponder being a reader, a writer and, most recently, a blogger.

If I had to squeeze all of my feelings about blogging into just one word, it would be gratitude. I am deeply grateful to “meet” you here in the WordPress community. Not just to “meet you,” as in “Hello, my name is Laura,” but to meet you during the invisible action that is communication in it’s purest form. It’s when I meet someone heart-to-heart, soul-to-soul in the wonderful, safe place trust has built, where I feel free to share the deepest parts of myself, knowing I’ll be received with kindness, free from judgement.

In these precious moments, I often discover that not only are my thoughts and experiences understood, but they are shared. To feel understood is one of the most precious gifts I ever receive; maybe my gratitude springs from our shared need to feel we “belong.” Whatever the reason, nothing comforts and inspires me more than knowing I’m not alone. It gives me the courage to move forward every day, no matter what challenge I may be facing. It fuels my intention to be of service to others, no matter how small or grand the gesture. It makes me love.

This life is filled with give and take, ups and downs, challenge and triumph. I have memories of carefree, childhood discoveries, tales of travel and adventures from my “glory days” and those joyous, life-changing events, like the birth of my beloved daughter. I’ve enjoyed the many simple pleasures we’re all blessed with from one year to the next. I also remember days when loss and grief seemed insurmountable, when depression stole my will and spirit and my recent years of illness, when I wondered if I’d ever be my “old self” again. Then came a cancer diagnosis and the frightening thought that I wouldn’t live another year. Luckily for me, that fear was short-lived; my cancer was caught in Stage One and I responded beautifully to my treatment protocol.

When faced with my own extinction, it wasn’t long before my priorities became crystal clear. I had plenty of time to reflect on my life story and to decide how I want to spend the next chapters. Plotting my intentions was quite simple; I said to myself, “I’ve always wanted to ____ ” and filled in the blank, over and over. I realized I wanted to write “in public” and decided a blog was the perfect place to do it. So, you are now part of my new chapter, where I share my stories and listen to yours as my heart overflows with gratitude. So, Thank you…You’re Welcome…It’s wonderful to meet you!

Dedicated to Anna Quindlen
For Living Out Loud and for helping me realize I have something to say.

I Have Survived!

Yesterday, my oncologist said, “You’re much too healthy to be hanging around doctors’ offices. See you in three months.” I shook his hand, hard, as our smiling eyes met. Then he turned and walked out of the office and into the rest of his day.

I pulled on my coat and began walking out of the office, twirling a scarf around my neck as I wove through the maze of rooms. The lab, the infusion room, the glass-walled reception area, all so familiar and now fading into the background. I flung the door open and the bright sun and freezing air stunned me. I jumped into my car and after slamming the door, I let out a joyous yelp. Within a few minutes the Grateful Dead tune, “Touch of Gray” began to play on the radio. I turned it way up, grinning ear-to-ear and sang all the way home, as happy tears bounced off the steering wheel. Sure, people looked at me when a red light stopped us, but I didn’t care. (My bumper sticker reads, “Driver Singing. Use Caution.”)

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! To all my dear friends and family, thank you! To my doctors, nurses, care-givers and EMT’s, thank you! To each and every one of you who – without even knowing – lifted me up, thank you! To God, this magical universe and the warrior that revealed herself within me, thank you! To my beloved angels up above who hovered close and answered my prayers, thank you! I need words bigger than “Thank You,” but for now they’re all I’ve got.

There’s so much I want to say, but I’ve got the rest of my lifetime to do so. So for now, I’ll celebrate and toast my fellow survivors. I’m also praying for the cancer patients who are fighting back right now, with all the bravery and strength they can muster. And I’m remembering those who’ve lost the battle, because all the medicine, treatments, love and fighting spirit weren’t enough. I will say this: Life is a beautiful gift. So please, be grateful and live every precious day like you MEAN IT!

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