By Pat Schwiebert, R.N.
I didn’t want to go. I was exhausted. Too many crises going on in my home. Two people just returning from the hospital needing my attention. But I went anyway. Out of obligation to my friend who had organized this fundraising event for her stage four cancer buddies.
What a downer you might say. But, no. It was just the opposite. The room was filled mostly with women who either have cancer now, have had cancer in the past or have cared for those under the thumb of cancer.
Joy can co-exist with sorrow.
We filed the room to capacity--us mostly over fifty women. We had been there before in years past just to enjoy the celebration of song with our very talented friends, but mostly to cheer them on and appreciate the wonderful sounds coming though them.
But this time they came for us. To hold us up. To help us remember the journey and share in the wisdom we have been learning all these years.
We heard sad songs. Songs written for others when the road was rough. Funny songs. Songs that forced us to laugh at our relationships with our pets and with each other. We laughed and cried. We sang along and swayed and stomped our feet.
My friend who pulled off this phenomenal fete has chemo brain. But she did herself proud. And her partner who died a few years back had to have been smiling watching her direct us as if this was what she had been doing all her life.
So what did I learn from this night?
Doing something for others helps you feel better.
Doing something with others helps you feel better.
Getting away from the house, even for just a few hours can give you a new perspective.
Something happens when you bring 250 people together. I thought we were there just to listen to the music. But something much bigger happened. Just for a moment I think we all remembered our purpose—to be there for each other and to not forget.