Cancer sucks.

My baby sister just lost her battle with breast cancer. 51 years old, with 2 amazing teenage daughters and the husband we all want to have. My heart hurts so much and I am reeling in grief and sadness. 

She was first diagnosed when she was pregnant. Can you friggin imagine? Morning sickness AND chemo......unthinkable. Then radiation while caring for a toddler and an infant. Unimaginable. But she 'beat' it for 10 years or so. Then it reappeared and she did treatment again. 2 more years of a reprieve......then it came back with a vengeance. She died June 7th.

She was my baby sister but SHE taught ME so many lessons. Even before cancer she lived life with a passion that was remarkable. She lived in a zillion places, knew people all over the world, never cared about gathering 'stuff' so much as gathering experiences.....and boy did she gather them.

I think once the cancer struck, she knew or suspected she would die young. So she lived her life with even more zest, even more dedication to being the best mom/wife/sister/daughter/friend she could be. She succeeded. Even after it became obvious that she would die, she focused on helping her loved ones deal with all of the grief and fear. She made sure she said everything she wanted us to know and allowed us to be honest with our own deep sadness. She died with such grace and courage that all of us learned important life lessons.

So as a therapist who often helps clients with their grief, you would think I would sail through this easily. Not so much. I am so up and down....very depressed at times.....angry and scared a lot too.  I'll drift off in the middle of a session and have to apologize to my amazing clients. "I'm so sorry........I went away for a minute. Will you repeat that?". They are always so sweet! My husband has been great but it has required me telling him what I need (space, hugs, dinners out so I don't have to cook.....). One night he just said 'I don't know what to say or do." This was good. I was forced to help him help me. We are closer because of it.

Life is full of surprises, good and bad. What I have learned from losing my dad and my sister within 2 years is that we have to be kind and gentle to ourselves. We have to throw away the rules and expectations and just sink into being sad when needed. AND ENJOY YOUR PEOPLE NOW!