On Being in This Together
as they slip away
we must make sure hope does not
for they were ours, ours theirs
We lost another four girls these last couple few days in our support group for younger women with metastatic breast cancer. It hits hard…
Victoria, the wonderful woman who originally founded the main online group – the Younger Breast Cancer Network said it so eloquently in a post today:
“This last week or two, our group has been through a lot, because we have lost some really close friends and strong group members. If you’re anything like me, it will have upset you on various levels, sadness and fear being two of these. The fear is difficult to deal with. If it can happen to them, then it can happen to me…..and, yes, it could do, you’re right. That’s exactly what makes a breast cancer diagnosis so hard, knowing people die from it and having no guarantees whether you’ll fall into the ‘will’ or ‘won’t camp. And that’s exactly why we need peer support, as only other women in this position can truly appreciate this fear and how hard it is to live with. These things don’t happen all the time though. Very, very many young women with primary breast cancer make a good recovery, their breast cancer is cured, but the doctors don’t know yet which of us is or isn’t cured. But women with a good prognosis can and do survive. Women with poorer prognosis can and do survive, and women who do go on to develop secondary breast cancer can and do survive for years, and live good, strong, enjoyable productive lives. Nobody else’s cancer is your cancer. Try to focus on your now, not on what may or may not happen. Try not to be too rocked by the passing of some of our members, it’s the flip side of peer support but doesn’t take away the joy of finding and helping each other.”
She is right – you get so much support and get close to people but the downside is you see the pain and heartache and difficulties that others go through up close and it brings it all home what we are dealing with. When someone gets bad news it can feel like we all do. But the flip side is if someone does well, has good news or success with a treatment or is simply stable and can get on and ignore cancer and enjoy life a bit more then that’s joyous to you too. We are there for each other in the bad times but we are also there to celebrate the good bits. One day news can bring us all down, another it can bring us all hope. And when treatment options aren’t quite working out or you are running out of options, hope is important. Sometimes it’s all you have. When one person sees a glimmer of hope, we all do.
When looking for images for this post I read the parable of the four candles (no, not the Two Ronnies’ version) burning in the world. Often it can signify the four candles in the advent. The three representing faith, peace and love flicker and die. An innocent child sees them and cries at their loss but the fourth candle signifies hope and as long as that burns, the others can be relit. Sometimes things seem dark for our wee group, the flames will flicker or a candle will go out, but hope from just one person can relight it in others. While one of us can see hope, we all do.
Our beautiful gone girls will live on in the hearts and minds of those that loved them. Our hope lives on in their name too….
Sleep tight Claire, Karly, Shonagh, Donna x