To My Colleague with Breast Cancer: You Have This Moment

faith

I read a little of your story today and it broke my heart. I see you wearing courage and faith openly, but I know you’re hurting, suffering, and perhaps afraid. I want to talk to you, but I don’t know what to say.  That I’m praying for you? I am.  But how many times a day do you hear that?

Whenever I see you, I think of Karlette, my little sister. The loss of her. The grief that still challenges every waking minute.  The sorrow that changed me. That changed all who really knew her in unspeakable ways.  Knowing this very real loss of her, I cannot offer you empty platitudes and mere words. I will not ever say to you what many cancer patients often hear:  “You’re a fighter. You will make it.  You will come through this.”

hope

I don’t know that. Neither of us do. Unless we are speaking of a future in the heavenly realms, earth offers no guarantees. Faith that can move mountains assures us that God is faithful. But. Faithful God allows grief, disappointment, and sorrow.  No matter how unfair or mean or downright unacceptable it seems to us—faithful God says, “some sicknesses are unto death, some for testimony.”  This can be a hard, hard pill to swallow.  But it is truth.

I wouldn’t say any of that to you either. You already know it.  You began this difficult line of thinking when you first heard the diagnosis or when the treatments did not bring desired results.

Then, I remember a conversation with Karlette on one of my visits.  In 2011 or 2012.  She had so many battles, so I’m not sure of the year.  She was weary of people seeing her as a cancer patient, as a cancer victim.  When people saw her, she felt, they saw cancer and not her.  She wanted to talk about MORE than that.  She was so much more than that, but when cancer takes over your body and your life and you can barely lift your head most days, even you begin to wonder.  I remember saying to her—you are not your cancer.  Or maybe, she said to me–I am not my cancer.

I say it to you–you are not your cancer.  You are more than this disease that disrupted your happiness and altered your life so completely that you are no longer who you were. I say to you–embrace the uncertainty.  Live and dance and love in beauty and in the sacredness of your being, and be everything you are in this moment.  Only this moment is sure.

love

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15 Comments

  1. Christine Brooks

     /  October 19, 2016

    Thank you. So well written. My favorite lines…
    you are not your cancer
    you are more than this disease
    faith that can move mountains
    no matter how unfair or mean or downright unacceptable it seems to us
    Live and dance and love in beauty

    Thank you for this.
    We need a cure from Cancer.

    Reply
  2. Moving words… Thank you, Chandra

    Reply
  3. Such a beautiful post Chandra. Sending prayers…

    Reply
  4. Very beautiful. Losing a sister, as we both know, is heart wrenching and life changing. It has been ten years since I lost my sister to cancer. Love and hugs…

    Reply
  5. Hi Chandra. I’m very sorry for the loss of your sister. This beautiful article gives us hope and strengthens us to continue giving and receiving support in this battle. Thank you!

    Reply
  6. Lela Gooding

     /  October 27, 2016

    Chandra, Thank you for this moving, heart-warming post. I pray that your colleague will be blessed by your expressions. One of my sisters is a cancer survivor; our loving God determines who goes, who stays, and whether the time is now, or later. I think He holds the bereaved especially close to His heart, too. You are always there.

    Reply
    • Thank you for your compliment and comment, Dr. Gooding! I saw you last week in the church parking lot. You were very engrossed in a conversation and I didn’t want to disturb you. I had to run into the market for a second and hoped you’d still be there by the time I finished. I exited the same time you entered your car and sped off! 😀 We’ll have to get together soon.

      Reply
  7. suzettedesertskyblueSuzette

     /  February 17, 2017

    What a truly beautiful piece. Thank you so much for sharing it with me. It’s so tenderly written and gives me words to say to Sara especially. I feel helpless and don’t know how to help or what to say. Sara’s journey has just begun so I have plenty of time to find my way to help her, my son, and their two daughters. My mom, at 92, has a better prognosis. You have enlightened my life. Thank you!

    Reply
    • I’m glad it is able to help you. It’s a difficult journey no matter what–for everyone. I’m sending lots of hugs and prayers.

      Reply

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