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I am a wife, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a cousin & a best friend. I am a poet, a lawyer & a survivor. I've learned that God will give you a second chance.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

There is a Season


When I was 14 I fell in love for the first time. Like every good childhood romance, it ended. I saved everything he had ever given me. I put his cards, letters and small gifts in a box. As I packed for college, I placed the box on a shelf in the closet of my bedroom in the hopes that one day I would see him again. Time passed. I grew up, fell in love and married the man who is my soul mate and has been my husband for more than 25 years. There were times over the years that I thought about that young man; wondered where he was and how his life had turned out.


When I was 43 I was diagnosed with triple-negative invasive ductal carcinoma. I had breast cancer. My treatment included surgery, chemotherapy and finally radiation. From the time of my diagnosis, throughout my treatment and even after, I received cards and notes of encouragement from friends and family. My friend Annie kept track of my treatments and mailed me a card so that it arrived in my mailbox every Thursday after a Wednesday chemotherapy session. My friend Ray bought me baseball caps. (I had chosen hats over a wig). My friend Joanna kissed the top of my head every time we met. These are only a few of the angels who took care of me in my time of need. Every card I received I placed in a basket that sat on a window sill in my living room.

One day, after my treatments were over, I decided to gather up all the cards, notes and gifts I had been given. My first thought was to throw them away. But something deep inside me said, “No. Save these. Share them with Kiley when she is 25.” (Kiley is the baby girl born to my niece eight days before my last radiation treatment). So I found a box that was big enough to hold my day timer, the cards, letters, pink ribbons and chemo. diary I had kept. I put the box in the furthest back corner of my bedroom closet because all I wanted to do was throw its contents onto a bonfire.
In 2009 I reconnected with my childhood friend. And my husband and I moved. As part of our move I decided I would go through each box that was in the closets and under the bed in our home. I wanted to revisit what was in them; throw out anything that was unnecessary. The fun part of going through these archives is reminiscing. I had a friend in high school that drew me cartoons. I found pictures from summer camp. In one box I found three letters and two cards from Scott. I got a little teary as I read them for the first time in almost 30 years. Mostly I smiled, remembering the friendship that we had shared.
I was struck with a sense of affirmation that saving those cards of encouragement from my cancer treatment days is the right thing. So I dug out my “cancer box” from the dark recesses of my closet and it traveled with me to our new home. It sits on a shelf in a closet marked November 29, 2032. I hate that box. I despise what its contents represent. It takes effort to keep from throwing it onto the fire. But I know that box is filled with love and friendship. It is that love and friendship that I want to remember.

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. - Ecclesiastes 3:1 KJV

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