Rituals and Milestones
If you know me, you know that I am a big believer in rituals and metaphors. In 1993 when I completed chemotherapy for my first breast cancer, I lined up all (and there were many!) pillboxes, with or without remaining pills, in the driveway. Then, with great satisfaction and crunching noises, I drove over them. When I passed the five year anniversary of that diagnosis, my husband and I spent a long February week-end on our beloved Mt Desert Island. We arose before dawn, crept carefully to the edge of the sea, and as the sun rose, we gave thanks and rejoiced in our blessings. I brought music; he brought readings, and we were so very grateful. Five years later, we marked ten years with a week at a wonderful secluded resort off Turks and Caicos (trading snow and sand). Again, on the right morning, we arose before dawn to watch the sun rise, signifying, for us, another beginning.
It interests me that I have not marked anniversaries--it has now been seven years--of my second breast cancer. I think I have become more supersitious and have chosen instead to be mindful most moments. My mindfulness includes mostly gratitude but also a big dose of concern and skepticism.
This note is from a lovely woman who, as you will see, has just passed the five year mark since her diagnosis. I love what she chose to do for this anniversary and know that the two lucky women will love it, too.
Five years ago today, I went for the final radiation session that marked the end of my treatment. Five years without a recurrence is considered statistically significant, so I wanted to do something special to mark the milestone.
During my treatment, I received two beautiful hand-made shawls, one from my niece Catherine and one from my friend and Stonehill colleague Annie. With Catherine and Annie's enthusiastic approval, I'm giving the shawls to two current members of the support group that was so helpful to me. I like the symbolism, involved, since I tend to be a cautious person, and parting with the shawls is an act of faith that I will not need them myself—or that if I do, I will receive the warmth I require when the time comes. In the meantime, someone who needs consolation right now will have a beautiful and ready source at hand. Hester likes the idea and says she knows just who the shawls should go to. Isn't that nice?