I’ve been thinking a lot about gratitude this week and not just because Thursday is Thanksgiving here in the United States.
On Saturday, I ran a workshop entitled “WHERE DO WE GO NOW? Surviving Life Beyond Cancer by Embracing Cancer’s Gifts and Losses.” The women who participated moved me beyond words and it was my very deep privilege to talk with them about our lives beyond cancer.
I started the workshop by sharing my cancer story and how my Gifts and Losses List came to be. For the first six and one half months of my cancer journey, I had no support other than from family and friends. Once I had my mastectomy at Overlook Hospital, however, I was surrounded by support and community. As a result of an overwhelming sense of gratitude for all I received there, I was buoyed up and began to recognize the gifts cancer was bringing into my life.
Journals in hand, I invited the workshop participants to write their own gifts and losses list. After everyone had enough time to work on their list, we shared a few entries. One woman, who had no biological sisters, talked about the sense of sisterhood she now had with other survivors. There was talk about the loss of friends who couldn’t deal with cancer and the gift of new friends who surprised us by stepping into the breach. Another woman spoke of no longer seeking approval from others and the joy she got from volunteering now that she was retired. Time to focus on herself was a surprising cancer gift recognized by another woman.
I didn’t share what I wrote in my journal on Saturday, but I’d like to do so now. I am grateful for the gift of each and every member, reader, friend, and seminar/workshop participant who has taken my hand and joined me on this journey. Every time I read your emails, blog post comments or talk with you at a seminar or workshop, I am bowled over by the gift of our connectedness. I’m also grateful for the support and encouragment of the many fellow bloggers I have “met” because of WWGN. Meeting one of them, Terri Wingham of afreshchaper, in person earlier this month was a very special gift of my cancer.
Please take a few minutes to join WWGN as a member so you can add entries to the WWGN Community Gifts and Losses List. It’s my hope that this list will become a true inspiration to others dealing with life beyond cancer. Thank you again to all of you and, wherever you are in the world, take a few minutes this week to enjoy your gifts and the gratitude they inspire.
Survival > Existence,