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Sometimes Life Sucks

How to take in all the bad situations and news around you and still stay focussed and positive in life. This is my question for the week.

This week, as a community we were all affected and saddened by a sudden unexpected death of a thirty something young man. At the same time, I heard that a dear friend was diagnosed with a second primary tumor after 10 years in remission from a different cancer and about another young teenage girl who had a re-occurrence of her tumor after only one year in remission. That’s not all, a friend in Australia has a good friend who was diagnosed with brain tumors and my other dear friend’s sister was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Well first of all, how did life get so hard? And when did cancer become such an everyday occurrence?
When I was growing up, I never knew anyone with cancer – and this was not because my parents were shielding me… it was just more rare and life involved normal, daily events like school, shopping malls, dates and dances. Our biggest dilemma was – what lipstick to wear or whether our friends were all going to be wearing jeans or skirts to the upcoming party.

After our journey of uncertainty, fear and dread, only just beginning to push through the darkness into the light, how do we not stumble and risk falling back into the hole – figuratively that is, the deep dungeon of sadness and renewed fears?

I am going to share some advice from my Australian friend Ilan Cohen (with poetic license):
1. We are all here for a short time
2. Go traveling
3. Give to others
4. Make life meaningful

Some other things to remember – Don’t fear the future, take it one day at a time. Our story is there to unfold and as it happens, we learn from our journey. One of my light-bulb moments in life was when I realized and decided to learn to embrace uncertainty. We cannot project and keep trying to avoid catastrophe, because that will stop us from living. We also cannot absorb everyone’s distress, if we do, we will go stir crazy, so while being ever present for our friends, we also have to know, to lovingly separate ourselves and not imbibe or absorb their journey into ours. Our empathy does not need to go as far as experiencing their trauma vicariously; we need to be there for them and maintain our strength- for we ourselves also have mountains to climb on our own journey.

Please share your thoughts on the topic…

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