Yesterday, I received the an amazing gift from a complete stranger. It contained the following letter:
In this box you will find a plethora of hats, all for you. I have read your blog and admire the vitality and wisdom you have to internally heal yourself. You do not know me, nor do you know the dozens of people that helped to collect all these amazing hats. Our "6 degrees of separation" connection is that we know someone who loves you! We don't want you to spend time thinking about who this box came from, no thank you is necessary. Knowing you will have a big smile on your beautiful face when you open the box is "thank you" enough! Cancer has touched us all in one way or another - survivors, family, friends, neighbors, co-workers. The bad days, mornings, hours, minutes are vivid and the good ones too few and far between at this point. We cannot just sit back and just strictly pray and wish for you, we wanted to physically do something (plus we're shoppers at heart and haven't met a hat that we don't like).
Some of the hats you will love and want to wear all the time. Some of the hats you'll take out of the box and say "that's not me." Some of the hats are new. Some of the hats are from cancer survivors collections from when they didn't have hair. Some of the hats have been bought over lunch hour by someone who wants to make you smile. Some of the hats will make you feel sassy and bouncy on a good day. Some of the hats have big brims and will help you hide when you just feel rotten and lousy. Some of the hats you can wear to bed and sleep in when the day is just too much to bear. Some of the hats your girls will want to wear and were made by hand for the three of you. Some of the hats are for spring and summer and some are for early fall.
All of them are being given to you with love, hope, and excitement by very cute, stylish people. We just wanted you to have a bunch to pick from to help you look even cuter than you already are for each and every day you don't have hair. Don't try and figure out who sent all the hats to you, but instead know that there is a powerful force of love, guidance and mystery at work in this beautiful universe. Soon you will look back on this horribly painful and exhausting time with a renewed outlook on life. You have the strength to get through this and we are mentally helping you each and every day! Love to you and your family. You ALL can do this!
I was in complete shock when I opened the box as it contained 20 hats and scarves of all different shapes, sizes and colors. But, more so I was overwhelmed by the love and kindness that these complete strangers chose to show me. Why would anyone go to these lengths to show someone they don't even know and that they care about what I am going through?
This is only one example of how people have gone out of their way to show me love and kindness during my battle with cancer. I want everyone to know how special you have made me feel. I have never felt more loved in my entire life. But most important, you have given me a new perspective on how important it is to go out of your way to be kind and to love others...an important lesson I think I needed to learn.
The other day, I went through all of the postings left by some of you following my blog. I came across a posting that was left by one our babysitters who cared for Mackenzie and Kendall for the past few years. In the posting she included a passage that explains perfectly all of the lessons learned when battling with cancer. It is as follows:
Making Friends With Cancer by Dawn Nelson
You make friends with cancer by heeding its call to consciousness, but letting it change your life. You slow down. You pay attention. You stop doing things you don't really want to or need to do. You prioritize. You pace yourself. You respect your body. You spend time with those whose presence is healing.
You make friends with cancer by noticing the small miracles that occur daily--the chorus of the bird songs in the morning air, the intoxicating fragrance of one pink rose, the melody of raindrops, the heart melting sweetness of your children's smiles, the eternality of an ocean wave, the exquisite beauty of a setting sun, the presence of your beloved--which, before cancer, you may overlooked or been to "busy" enjoy or appreciate.
You make friends with cancer by letting love in. You open your heart. You tell the truth. You ask for help. You accept the profound generosity of friends. You let whatever you may given return itself to you.
You make friends with cancer by allowing it to remind you of what is actually important in life and what is less so by forging a relationship with it that fosters new insight, by seeing the uninvited guest as an opportunity for learning and growth.
You make friends with cancer by accepting the myriad gifts and joys which life offers. You don't waste time complaining about the things you cannot change or which you wish were different. You dance when you can, you weep when you must. You notice what you have instead of what you don't have. You practice thankfulness, and forgiveness.
You make friends with cancer by not hiding from it or hating it, but by acknowledging it, accepting what it has to teach you and continuing your journey, one step at a time.
I could not have said it any better. I just wish it hadn't taken cancer for me to realize all of this. But one thing I do know, this is why I am going through cancer...to teach me to trust in God and to learn all of the lessons cancer teaches. After this is all said and done, I will never hesitate to reach out to someone in need whether it is a family member, friend or stranger. My heart is more open to showing others the same love and kindness each and everyone of you have shown me.
PS - The biopsy of my lymph node was negative. Thanks be to God! Also, chemo and round one of radiation went well yesterday. Except for a minor panic attack at the start of radiation, I made it through. Hoping today goes much better! Thank you for your prayers! They are working!