Show me your scars and I'll show you mine
Your scalpels drawn through healthy flesh,
Your broken half and half as more removed,
And deeper cuts where mine remain unseen.
We heal each other in these tender wounds,
Each sorrow shared, each bone our bone,
Embracing what we cannot speak in sounds,
And naming what we dare not speak alone.
My wife was young when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Too young! But then, I was young, too. And I learned fast how to be a caregiver. For example, I learned that cancer doesn’t respect age. Whether a person is younger or older—the fears and anxieties are the same. Cancer isn’t just an old person’s disease; it can invade young lives, too. Likewise, I learned that being young isn’t about age so much as it is a state of mind. If you have a young mind you still have goals, and it was helpful to remember that the best was yet to come. As a caregiver, you can help to keep those goals intact. Speak the dream and keep moving toward it. I also discovered that writing poetry was a great outlet. Poetry can be a kind of therapy. It never hurts to write down our thoughts and feelings, and poetry was a natural way for me. Poems like the one above helped me to express my hope. And it’s important to keep hope alive.
I found that it was important to keep my wife laughing. Breast cancer isn’t funny, but a sense of humor was vital to the journey. Buy a joke book, swap funny stories, and laugh at the little things along the way. It seemed that humor actually helped speed the process of healing and I was glad my wife and I found time to laugh together.
Finally, remember: you can do it! As a caregiver, you will often be the source of strength, hope, joy and healing for the one you love.
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