River Memories

I remember this time I was probably 8 going to the river and just going for a swim. The hole was pretty deep and we were near a small dam. Always having an old funky pair of sneakers to wear when you got in.

        The water is always freezing when you first touch it. But it’s one of those colds like water out the hose after mowing the yard… freezing, yet the most refreshing, alive feeling you felt in a quite some time.

         I remember being 14 and staying with nanny and Papa’s that summer while we were getting work done on the kitchen. I walked down to the bottom, through the fence and right past those cows to their drinking hole. Next thing I did was jump on in. Swam around and found a rock to hold onto to I could “float” and not get taken off. There is something adventurous and freeing about swimming in a crick or the river. Feeling the water flow over your feet as you walk. 

        I hadn’t felt that feeling in quite a while, so recently when my mini human asked me to join her in the river. Join her I did. It seemed like such a good idea walking down that hill, climbing down those rocks and walking into that freezing cold river water for just a few moments I forgot any part of me hurt. I wasn’t thinking about how different I appeared. I was laughing and enjoying the water with my girl and my nephew. Then I came home and I’m laying there trying to sleep reminded that I’m not 14 anymore. Happy moments and memories don’t come so easily any longer. I am still fighting for my health. I am still fighting for my new normal. But for a few moments that day I was simply enjoying the freezing flow of the river.

     Just remember big things, my friends! Big things are coming! So until next we meet at the workbench…keep creating, enjoy your moments and love hard.  As always thank you for stopping by and for being on this journey with me.

Big Love,

Randi

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Tools from the Childhood Toolbox

Cancer has been a journey unlike any I have ever experienced. At least not where I was really paying attention. Cancer was not new to me. Not really. But I find myself wondering how could I have gotten some tools from my experiences as a child.

It was so cool rolling matchbox cars over Papa’s “roadmap” on his chest. I get the act of love that was for my brother and I. We were 10 and 7. He had lung cancer. He had to be exhausted. His chest had to hurt. And yet there he was loving us. There are so many questions I use I had known at 10 to ask. What I would give for one more circle bologna sandwich.

I can close my eyes and still see her laying there. She was tired. She had nothing to give and yet she watched that movie with me. Let me pray over her. Told me thank you for spending time with her. Watching her get smaller and weaker. Seeing her one last time and she didn’t know who I was. And still there are questions I wished I had known to ask at 16. Aunt Bobbie had always been there and then she wasn’t.

Nanny just always only had one breast. She always put her “pillow” in the other side. We didn’t talk about it. We didn’t have to. Cancer didn’t take her away. But there are questions I wished I had known to ask. I would have asked how she did it. How she continued on with her life like nothing had happened? How it wasn’t something she needed to talk about? How did cancer change you? Not just take your breast, but how did it change your very core?

My mini human has been given every opportunity we could throughout this journey to have fun. To do the things she has wanted within reason. I have intentionally chosen activities, small trips, “rewards” and celebrations to insure that she didn’t lose her childhood completely to cancer.

I think those are the tools I brought from my early exposure to cancer. Spend time with those you love and have fun doing it. Everyday isn’t fun. Chemotherapy was not fun. Having to change habits to not get sick was not fun. The ways to finding out the habits needed to change were not fun. A bi-lateral mastectomy and lymph node removal was not fun. Radiation is not fun. It is a scheduling nightmare. A stress that has led to shingles. An increase in the daily pain.

Just remember big things, my friends! Big things are coming! So until next we meet at the workbench…keep creating, enjoy your moments and love hard.  As always thank you for stopping by and for being on this journey with me.

Big Love,

Randi