With my toes in the sand and waves coming to greet me, I let go. The waves retrieved and carried the drowning effects of fear, anxiety, and uncertainty back out to sea. Like the sand that appears to be washed away with every wave, my spirit soared and filled with peace.
“Here bring your wounded heart, your heavy soul… Here tell your anguish, your fears, and your pain…Here may you find peace and serenity…There is no sorrow that the sea cannot heal.”~Anon.
I hate cancer. I hate cancer. I hate cancer. I hate MOST everything about it. Most? Yes, most. Let me explain. Since my diagnosis and treatment, I have had the privilege of meeting some of the most genuine, caring, and loving men and women. It’s not because we’ve asked to be in this sisterhood or brotherhood that we understand. It’s because we never wanted any of this ‘stuff’ that we are bonded through an experience. Cancer, the experience, can take us on an emotional roller coaster — happiness, sadness, joy, pain, and victory.
What I least expected was the number of blessings that would come my way as a result of what is ‘cancer – the experience’. One such blessing was Little Pink House of Hope’s retreat week in Gulf Shores, Alabama. As I look back on the week we shared, I am reminded how the ocean calms, teaches, inspires, and bonds us.
The ocean calmed me. With my toes in the sand and waves coming to greet me, I let go. The waves retrieved and carried the drowning effects of fear, anxiety, and uncertainty back out to sea. Like the sand that appears to be washed away with every wave, my spirit soared and filled with peace.
The ocean taught me. I spent days reflecting on the journey I’d traveled and speculated what was ahead. I was struck with the thought that no matter how vast the ocean is – my presence in the middle of it was evident by my ability to splash the water – move through the water – create a disturbance. Every aspect of a cancer diagnosis is overwhelming. Navigation is difficult (at best). Yet, we, as survivors, move through it with grace and determination. We are present in the midst of the most turbulent times. We fought and forged ahead even when the waters became murky.
The ocean inspired me. As cancer survivors, we have plenty of time to reflect. We reflect before, during, and after treatment. Honestly, I spent quite a bit of time daydreaming on the beach. With pen and paper in hand, I allowed myself to envision the best life I could. “Dream Big” I told myself time and time again. On the beach, there’s laughter galore. Good times are had on the beach. The ocean invites us to live, laugh, and love freely. Witnessing others enjoying life served as inspiration and reminder that it’s important to keep living.
The ocean bonded me to other cancer survivors and their families as well as the volunstars. Little Pink House of Hope does an excellent job of helping to create bonds between the participants. It is a gradual and deliberate process where you can see the progression from strangers to friends. Three years later, I still remember each of my survivor friends and their families. We still check-in with one another. In one week, we became forever friends.
Little Pink House of Hope gives hope in a way that each family may define differently. From the day we’re diagnosed, we’re hopeful about health, wellness, and so much more. We constantly seek hope throughout the journey. I thank Little Pink for recognizing that a healthy dose of hope goes a mighty long way for survivors and co-survivors. During our week at the beach, the ability to release and let go came easily. From the bottom of my heart, I thank Little Pink House of Hope for the week of HOPE filled activities, dinners, thoughtful gestures, which provided healing for my mind, body, and soul. Thank you Little Pink for helping to create wonderful memories for survivors and co-survivors. Your work is heaven sent! Hugs and High 5s – Carletta LPHoH Alum 2014