I am officially through my year of first anniversaries. My how time flies. What was really interesting about it all was how much more emotional I was looking back. Going through surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, I was so focued on the tasks at hand and getting “the job” done that emotion was not really a factor. Oh, there were some tears, and a few days of fear at the beginning. But once you’re “in it”, it was all about staying positive and managing the mulitple moving parts.
When I mentioned that I’d made it through all the firsts, someone asked me how it felt. I explained that it had been a more emotional journey than how it felt actually going through it, which, even to my ears, sounded weird. But when they said “what emotions”, I was at a loss for a moment. It was a good question.
Emotional soup is the best way to describe it. Or maybe stew. It was like all the emotions crowded into one pot and then burst through. Relief, pride (I made it!), fear, frustration, anxiety, grief, joy (I made it!). Everything, all at once. Not every time I looked back. But the “big moments” – anniversary of first chemo, for example.
Like all good soups and stews, they blended and became more flavourful with age, after they’d had time to sit and infuse. It’s hard to pick them apart now, they are so much a part of my past year as a bundle.
And the emotional soup came mostly without tears. (Although there were some on the last chemo anniversary.) It has been more reflective, a catharsis for sure, but also a curiosity and an embracing. It’s like my mind and heart can now process the emotions, bring them out into the open and … I was going to say acknowledge, but that’s not the right word. Maybe it’s “live” with them.
So here’s to the Firsts – and the 10ths and the 20ths and the 30ths …