I’ve always been a firm believer in the notion that sharing doubles the joy, but I’m equally convinced that sharing divides the sorrow. Over the years sharing in person, but especially in letters, has helped me work through a variety of difficult emotional issues – the empty nest syndrome when our sons left for college, the death of my mother and father and even the death of my dear doggie Alexander. Writing my feelings, getting them out onto paper and sending that paper to dear letter friends, has been and continues to be great comfort when comfort is needed. Any writing can be helpful. Some prefer journal writing, but when you give good things come back to you. When you give of yourself through letter writing letters filled with compassion, understanding and encouragement boomerang back to you. Who needs a therapist when you have letter friends?
Well, my life had been going along just great and I was anticipating a lovely Summer vacation to relax and have fun but then there came a little bump in the road of my happiness. This bump came in the form of ill health and it required some serious sharing to divide the resulting sorrow. I was sharing in all sorts of ways – person to person, sharing by telephone, by email, but mostly sharing in letters. I wrote even more letters than usual, not just my usual one a day, but now a few a day, because I had lots of feelings to release. All this fuss started with a routine mammogram but ended with a diagnosis of breast cancer. Me? Cancer? Yikes!!!
I started spending a lot of time at The Cleveland Clinic. This is a world unto itself. Huge buildings connected by broad hallways. Fountains, gardens, restaurants, a hotel… an immense and impressive institution with state of the art medicine… lucky for me. But what do people do when they get sick if they live in the middle of nowhere without such facilities nearby? I wonder.
It was so strange to be given a diagnosis of cancer when I felt absolutely fine, fit as a fiddle, but luckily I went for my routine mammogram and that mammogram spotted trouble brewing. Lucky for me the trouble was just in its early stage. Be sure to have your routine mammogram. It can save your life! I was in and out of doctor’s examining rooms for the next few weeks. Various tests were performed and I spent a lot of time waiting anxiously for results. It was a nerve wracking time for sure.
I was told the Clinic had therapists I could contact if I needed someone to talk to, but that wasn’t necessary for me because I not only had a great family, many local friends, a very supportive church community but also an army of fabulous letter friends.
I wrote lots and lots of letters getting all my feelings out and my wonderful letter friends showered me with lots of letters in return, letters filled with good cheer, prayers, compassion and positive thoughts. Every day the letters came. These letters were messages filled with love and that love brought me a joy that overshadowed the cancer. It really did. I felt truly blessed. Some of my darling little choristers made cards for me. Gals who went through breast cancer themselves offered support and encouragement. So many people were so very nice sending me prayers and best wishes. It was totally heartwarming to see first hand how good and caring people can be and are. If you are one of those terrific people who reached out to me… THANK YOU!
The doctors and nurses at The Cleveland Clinic took good care of me and made me better. My surgery went well. I did my share of praying too. As a Catholic I’m very fond of the Divine Mercy prayer. (For the sake of His sorrowful passion have mercy on us and on the whole world.) I sang myself to sleep with that prayer every night for weeks. I guess my praying and the prayers of so many others did the trick, along with the fact that it must’ve been God’s will for me to stick around this earth a little longer. I am thankful for having such a wonderful medical facility nearby, but I’m equally thankful for the good people who supported me through my adventure with cancer. They not only divided my sorrow but they filled me with the warm glow of their spirit.
So once again I say sharing doubles the joy most definitely, but it also divides the sorrow. Writing and receiving loving letters and notes are wonderful medicines. If you feel blue these things will revive you. If you already feel happy they’ll double your joy and make you happier yet. No kidding. I’ll continue to share all my life, in person and in letters, and I hope you do too, sharing the good and the not so good, because we are meant to be there for each other. When people share magic happens. Love happens.
Love to you from me