Tag Archives: cancer

Embracing the Past

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Embracing the past is a concept that some people find hard to grasp. The past is sometime hard, and has had all sorts of hurtful and sometimes truly horrible things happen in it. Some people don’t want to talk about it or admit that some things have happened. They don’t talk about the past with their families and they don’t want it to come up in conversation. The past is sometimes wonderful and it has shaped you into the person that you are.

I find this a little strange, when people don’t want to acknowledge their past. I am a firm believer that your past helps you become the person that you are. You can’t improve or better yourself if you don’t learn from hurts, mistakes, wonderful people, terrible people, amazing events, life changing moments and experiences. I like to think that some of the most wonderful things in our lives wouldn’t have happened if we didn’t go through some of the terrible things. We wouldn’t have been lead to the road on which we stand if we didn’t travel down some interesting paths.

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Some of you might know I have had cancer, my first when I was just 24, and then again when I was 28. It changed my life, and I think it was one of the best things that happened to me. Some people can’t believe when I tell them this, but it changed my view and changed my way of thinking in some aspects.  It gave me experience on which I have drawn on and helped me gain experiences to help me to relate to other people. It has given me life skills that I have used again and again.  I wouldn’t change it. My favourite line from one of my favourite Pink song says “I wouldn’t trade the pain for what I’ve learned.” This is so true.  It’s made me who I am today, without all of the pain and the struggle I would be a different person. I am grateful for what the whole process taught me and I know a number of cancer survivors that feel  a similar way that I do about it all.

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I have also spoken to a few of my friends and they like to look at things in the way that if A,B or C didn’t happen in their life they would never got to meet their partner or be on the road that they are on. They can look back on some really tough times and see that, they happened, nothing can change that , but they have drawn on this experience and they have gotten  to a better place.
Some things that have happened to me in my life were terrible and excruciatingly painful at the time but when I look back now, I can see how they strengthened me and prepared me for things in my life that happened later. Things that I know without going through some of the previous hurt I would not have been able to handle what followed.

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Do you agree about embracing your past, are there things that you learned that make up some of your key values?

Thank you to my friend Michael Thomas for the use of his amazing photos on the blog this week. Check out his other work by checking out his website here and his blog here.

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Funeral of a friend

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Some time ago I received a text from my friend explaining he only had weeks to live. It took me by surprise; I was both shocked and upset. He had let me know previously that he was accepted into a drug trial and when I discussed it with him he seemed apprehensive but excited. The trial had some encouraging results in America, so when I received the message telling me that he was now ineligible for the trial, I felt sad and worried about his ongoing struggle.  He had been diagnosed with cancer about two and a half years before that. We had numerous discussions about cancer and treatment; my struggle with cancer was different and luckily mine was something that could be treated with an eventual positive outcome. However we could still connect with each other’s experiences and talk about treatments, concerns, fears, and positivity.

About three weeks later I got the email from his partner explaining that he had passed away. Throughout this period I tried to get in touch with him however the phone was never answered and I was too late. When I texted him asking if he was up for visitors, his partner replied telling me that he was gravely ill. I didn’t want to impose further, through my own experience with cancer I could sympathise with how hard and often tiring it can be repeating the same news.

His funeral service was lovely and I learned more about my friend on this day. I find with the majority of funerals I have been to I always tend to learn something new about my loved one – whether this is the celebrant’s doing or a family members. When I have been conducting a funeral myself, I always learn something new about the deceased. I also love being reminded of the joy that the deceased has brought in the past and will continue to in the future to their loved ones. Recently at my friends funeral I witnessed the love that people felt for him and to me that says a lot about a person.

After the service his partner apologised to me, for a moment I was shocked and not sure what she meant. She explained he had wanted me to conduct his service, and this had slipped her mind until she had seen one of my business cards around the house. I understood that it must be a horrendous and terrible time for her and told her that the service was lovely regardless. However, I was quite sad. I felt that I could have honoured my friend’s wishes by conducting the service. It was good of her to let me know and I felt privileged that he had trusted me to conduct his service. When I discussed this with my husband afterwards, he suggested that maybe she mentioned it to me as a way of apologising to him for it slipping her mind. Although I did not get to conduct his funeral, I will continue to honour and remember all things he taught me in life.

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