According to statistics from Cancer Research UK, there are almost a thousand new cases diagnosed each day and half of us will be diagnosed with some form of cancer during our lifetimes. Medical and surgical advances now ensure that, of those diagnosed, half will survive for ten years or more after diagnosis, but that still leaves a huge number of people facing a future aware of the ticking clock. And still we don’t like talking about it… shying away from discussing how it will affect our lives, our emotions and our families.
We all face death, no matter how, where or when… every birth carries its death within it and in each death there is a birth. Leah Bracknell is living with cancer and a terminal diagnosis. She is not fighting against it, nor is she running from it… she is learning from it and doing so with grace…
Death and the Elephant
There are some days not quite as bright as others, even when the sun is shining. The dark clouds of grief, or fear, or anger, or helplessness just roll on in like an impending storm to obliterate any rays of hope and possibility.
The elephant in the room looms impossibly loud and large, knocking the china flying like a bull in a china shop. The world stands still but you can’t find the exit. And the roller coaster lurches on, up and down, your face a rictus of terror, a silent scream, on this white-knuckle ride.
Oh for a spoonful of normality. When problems were just problems, and not everything was reflected in the mirror of mortality; not everything had a full stop.
Days when it is too painful to look back and too painful to look forward, that find you adrift and isolated from the everything you treasure. No analgesic to numb this wound. This is the deepest cut.
On days like this, collar turned up, back to the wind, your coat of self-pity a defense and a refuge, beneath which lies your nakedness and vulnerability and the scars of your human frailty.
And as I lie with this unwelcome bedfellow, who whispers unsweet nothings of nothing into my ear, fuelling the terrors and painting the world black, willing me to break, seducing me down the path of hopelessness and despair, I chose surrender. To surrender to the uncomfortable emotions, to honour my vulnerability, to let the cracks show and the tears flow. There is no shame in admitting that sometimes you hit a brick wall, that putting on a brave face just doesn’t cut it, that you want (and do!) to throw all your toys out of the pram…
Continue reading at Something beginning with C.