So. Much. Love.

When I was a little girl, I loved to write letters. In between visits, my cousins and I would write back and forth to each other. During summer breaks, my closest friends and I would write to each other every few days; often making our own envelopes out of another sheet of paper. Sometimes we would fill them with confetti, which would cause quite a mess when opened! We would even look up the address to hotels and send letters to each other during family vacations. I remember excitedly checking the mail each day in anticipation of the arrival of a new letter addressed to me. There is just something so wonderful about receiving mail.

Although Jacob doesn’t know it yet, I’ve started (try) to pass along this love of letter writing to him. Each holiday, and every vacation, we send him a letter or post card. The letters usually have $1 in it and we share with him a few thoughts, words of wisdom or an event that occurred. We address it to him and mail it out – many times from our own mailbox. They are sealed and stored in a memory box for him to open sometime. We even did this when I was pregnant – addressed to “Baby”.

Where we live now, there aren’t mailboxes (in the typical sense) at each house but instead a large, metal mail box at the end of each road for all of the houses on that street. Typically, it takes a few days for us to check it because it isn’t right in front of our house. Since beginning this journey though, it has become a nightly tradition for us – something that I look forward to doing together. Jacob is strapped into his Radio-Flyer tricycle and we take a family walk to the mailbox together. Most days, that metal box is filled with a letter or a card or a package. Someone reaching out to send their love, their thoughts, their prayers or a surprise gift to let us know that they are thinking of us and that we are not alone in this journey.

Twice this week my husband returned from picking up little man with a gift for me; the first a gift basket filled with goodies from coworkers to remind me how strong I am and today an embroidered tote from daycare filled with goodies to keep me comfortable during treatment. This week, which is the hardest one for us, we have also been given a meal each night so we don’t have to cook.

And the list doesn’t end there – the calls, the texts, the fundraiser, the visits to see us, the prayers. So. Much. Love.

Writing this out, I can’t help but cry. I like to think that words come easy for me when writing but I don’t think I can properly express how much all of your kindness means to us. This is, by far, the most challenging, life-altering journey that we have ever been on and you have all done so much to help us through this. Each and every one of you. We are so humbled and so incredibly blessed with all of your love. There are so many different ways that one can demonstrate kindness, love and support…and I feel like we have seen every single possible way.

A dear friend said to me, “Our prayer is that this helps you and your family, even if it’s just a little.” Oh, but a little it is not. It is so much bigger than that.

Thank you. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.

I’m done being afraid

The other day, after asking me about my cancer, I heard an unusual reply. “You are a ray of light every time I see you walk into this room.” The response was unexpected and made me smile, especially given the fact that I wasn’t feeling like a ray of light to anything that day.

I mentioned earlier this week that I’ve been having a difficult time expressing myself. Writing out my thoughts and feelings in this blog helps me to release them into the world. It frees my spirit and cleanses my soul, just a little. This week I have been extra tired and cancer has been weighing heavily on my mind. I haven’t wanted to write out all of my thoughts, as I don’t want to be negative or pessimistic, though the reality is that some days are harder than others.

Last night, after I finished writing about Michael, I started searching through a bunch of old pictures to find the one of me and him. It was a serious blast from the past as I looked through pictures that were 8, 9, 10, 11 years old – my goodness! And they were all pictures taken after I met Joe. I was cracking up at some of the sillier ones and others brought a huge smile to my face as I remember trips taken and visits from family and friends. My college graduation, Joe’s 25th birthday in Las Vegas, Christmas with our grandparents…so many amazing memories that I haven’t thought about in a while.

After laying down for bed, both of my boys asleep, my mind shifted to the fears that have come to haunt me at night. I can’t help but let them in sometimes, especially when the world is quiet and dark. It hurts to even type the words. I am afraid. I am afraid of the future. I am afraid of my family continuing on without me in it. I am afraid of my son growing up without his mommy. I am afraid of my husband losing his wife. I am afraid of the void that my sisters and my family and my friends will have if they lost me. I am afraid of all of the things that I would leave undone, untouched and unsaid. (And don’t forget the all-important – who will organize the filing cabinet?!)

As I laid in bed, I thought about my fears and all of the pictures I was looking at that brought back memories from the life that I have lived so far. And I thought about Michael and my post. He was taken too soon, way too soon. I was in the car that night. I was in the accident. I could have been taken too.

And that’s when it hit me. That’s when I remembered.

I. Am. So. Blessed. I AM SO BLESSED! I am able to wake up every single day. I have lived an incredible 31 years and I have DECADES to go! I have met the love of my life and we have created a wonderful life together – a life that includes the most incredible little man that I have ever laid eyes on. A life that is filled with love from family and friends – people that I am so lucky, so fortunate, to know.

I don’t know what the future holds. But what I do know is that I am blessed today and every day. I am here. And I am strong. And I am beating this. I won’t waste my energy on fear anymore. I won’t let it consume me. I will continue to be a ray of light.

I’m done being afraid.

And I feel better already.