When I was first diagnosed with cancer last April, I asked my two queens of social etiquette…my amazing mother and mother-in-law if I should write thank you notes for all of the amazing things I had received and would receive over the coming months. Josh and I were both raised with extremely strong values and one of the things that was heavily ingrained in us (thankfully!) was to always write a thank you note. But if I’m being honest, time was not on my side. I mean a cancer diagnosis and treatment for it is extremely time consuming, in case you haven’t picked up on that yet. Throw in there trying to sell a home, find a home to move to in a different state, packing a house for 6 people, having two major surgeries, moving and also just trying to stay afloat with normal life stuff…I felt like people would understand. And amazingly, both of my “mom’s” agreed with that sentiment. So instead, I sent a digital message off (I HOPE I DID AT LEAST!) to the gift giver.
I’ve been putting this blog post off for a long time. I’ve stored the cards in my “cancer drawer” by my night stand along with all of the medications I took during treatment. Every time I went in the drawer to retrieve ANOTHER pill, I saw the cards and it always made me smile. But since treatment has been completed, the drawer has stayed shut. The gratitude I have is so immense it’s almost too much for me…but before I get into that, I have to get something off my (fake) chest. Before my cancer diagnosis, I had a crappy attitude about people and friends. As a kid, I was “bullied”. In both my elementary years and my high school/college years. I was an easy target, so I will take full ownership for that. But, as an adult, that all backfired on me with major trust issues with people and never let anyone in too much for fear they might see the “real” (quirky as all get out!) me. I had been chronically disappointed by friends…although as Josh always tells me, I just allowed people to stay in my life that probably shouldn’t have been there to begin with. (truth bomb) So when I was diagnosed with cancer, and SO MANY PEOPLE showed up for me, so many of those people I wasn’t expecting to…it was overwhelming in the most incredibly positive way. The thoughtful cards, flowers, the bracelets, the home cooked meals, sour candies, surgery belts and pillows, the gift cards for meals, the books, the t-shirts for my kids, the massage gift certificates, the cozy blankets, the getting me to doctors appointments, and allowing me to cry and scream for a brief moment about how crappy life was. There was the checking in to see if I needed anything from the grocery store, the taking my kids when I needed an hour without someone saying my name, holding my hand while my uncle shaved my head, bringing chips and ranch (my favorite “bad” food) from Chili’s to chemo, bringing champagne to my final chemo, f*ck cancer sweatshirts, driving from Chicago to Minneapolis for treatment and to surprise me for my last one…I could go ON AND ON…these things I received from people near and far and people I hadn’t spoken with in a solid 20 years, I mean to this day, I think about it all and I start to cry.
And so here it is…my public THANK YOU note. Thank you from the bottom of my growing heart. Thank you for teaching me that most people are good and kind and there when you need it most. This experience has humbled me and pushed me to places I never thought I’d have to go…and you were there. You restored my faith in people. You made me realize that I had allowed a few people impact how I felt about most people. You were there for me, you were there for Josh and most importantly, you were there for my kids. There are no words I will ever have that can express how appreciative I truly am.
Know this though…I will spend the rest of whatever life I am granted on this amazing planet constantly paying forward every ounce of that appreciation and gratitude I have for what you gave our family. THANK YOU. Cado on!