Thursday, 26 May 2011

Alone in the Sea of People

This won't be the pining of an angsty teen, wishing their life was "less mortifying".  Perhaps you can go back to your jr high and high school years to help relate to this lament, though.  Unless you were one of those people that got along with everyone and had everything given to you upon your demand.  If you're that kind of person, please just move on to the next post and forgo this one. (PS: this is a long one!)

I'm sure at some point you've felt alone.  Being a navy wife there's been lots of days and nights by myself.  Even before this part of my life there were lots of those.  But it is harder when there should be someone next to you.  It's more difficult to be satisfied with your solitude when your mind knows that someone once completed you and was near you often or always.  It even comes to a point of pain when the loneliness is forced upon you by unforeseen circumstances.

Can you get a more unforeseen circumstance than cancer?  Well, yeah, when Mr Death wants to pay a visit, but lets not get into that tonight.

You have your family, you have your friends, you have your co-workers, and acquaintances.  You have your life.  Suddenly you have no one that can relate to you.  You are the black sheep in the herd of white sheep, you may still be a sheep but you are not the same at the same time.  The shepherd still brings you in to green pastures, they still lead you to water, shear you, pat your head as they pass, but you look around you and only see the difference surrounding you.  Let that sink into your mindset.  Have you ever been surrounded and no matter how much your thoughts told you that you were similar to everyone you see your heart told you that you were far from the same?

I had chemotherapy sessions surrounded by people in their 50s and 60s+, I went to talks, sessions, groups, and more all surrounded by people with cancers and even though we had that in common, none of them understood what I was going through.  I was too young.  They were in a different stage of their life.  They didn't care about their breasts being gone, some saw it as a blessing.  Being put into early menopause was a relief of not needing maxipads and tampons any longer.  Short hair was a look they had come to want.  And those that tried to be sympathetic couldn't hide the confusion and belittling behind their eyes and in those kind words.

But that's not the only way you feel alone...

My family was always pretty close.  My husband is my best friend.  Now they're looking at the cancer patient.  I wasn't me anymore.  I was a fragile creature that could bend or break at any moment.  I felt like I was behind a glass wall looking at my family, unable to fully reach them, they were unable to fully reach me.  But a lot could still be communicated.  They all tried their best in their own ways, but this time instead of thinking of the sheep, it was more like this:  You go to get you favorite ice cream, you love all ice cream but your favorite was waiting for you at home all day and you could not wait to get back and have a heaping bowl full.  You get home, open the container, greedily scoop it out and as you take a taste realize that the ice cream wasn't what it said on the label.  You wanted black raspberry cheesecake, this is raspberry swirl.  Yes, it still have vanilla ice cream and the raspberry flavour, but it's nowhere's near what you had wanted.  It still takes great! It's the finest ice cream, but it is not what you were expecting your accustomed to.  The relationship is still there, there's still a closeness that cannot be compared, but it's lacking something because they cannot relate to a new part of your life.

Your heart starts to pine, your soul becomes brittle, oh so fragile.  You were so used to having something and now it's hard because there's a gap between you and what you once knew.

You're a piece of volcanic glass on the sandy shores of Canada.., you may be a part of the earth but how the hell can you relate to a piece of granite or shale?

I found some relief for my heart, I ventured out to YACC 's Retreat Yourself East.  It was so nice to be able to talk to people close to my situation.  I did find it too short though.  I understand they cannot have it longer at the moment.  There's so many complications with events like this.  Scheduling, people missing treatments (I was one!), cost, availability.  But I still feel there are so many things I did not get to express.  Maybe because I was listening so much to everyone else.  However it happened, I hope to get more out soon.  It may have to wait until the conference they will be hosting in November, but I hope it will not take that long.  At least there is the opportunity in November to keep me sane till then.

This is why I want to bring a YACC office to Halifax.  We need a central point for those of us to focus on when we have no others in sight that can relate.  We love our families, we cherish our friends, but we have a scarred soul that needs kindred spirits that have been burned the same way.  We need to be able to see the horizon while floating alone in the sea of people.

1 comment:

  1. I hear you. Thank you for painting a clearer picture of loneliness in cancer and how it manifests in the different ways. I wish you all of the best in getting a YACC in Halifax. Support, as you know, is so important.