When I was younger, my dad went fox hunting with his buddies. In Iowa fox hunting took place when the snow was often at its deepest. He often talked about how tiring it was to lift your legs to move through the snow. It left me wondering: what's the point? He explained that the point was the possibility of the hunt. The possibility.
I think the last few years of my life have been much like walking through the snow. It has been tiring and tedious and exhausting. At one point, in what seems like a different lifetime, all the possibility just went away, and it seemed the snow was covering me. Now I can only describe my life as saying the snow has melted some, the walking has become easier, and the possibility, the possibility is hanging there with each step. How amazing!
For the first time in my entire life, I feel a peace that I have never, ever felt. It is not that everything is perfect. Don't get me wrong. It is not that having one leg is wonderful all of the sudden because it's not. But for the first time, I feel defined by my life - all of it - not just having had cancer as a child. For the first time, I don't feel bitter and judgmental in the way I did, without even realizing it, in the past. I am still sarcastic and my humor may be biting at times, but I don't feel the harshness that was part of me before.
My counselor said something to me that really helped me turn the corner on this. She said, "I believe that people are, in general, doing the very best that they can." I have thought of her saying that every single day since then. When you look at others and life in this light, there is a freedom to breath and not worry about this constant need to help and change those around you.
As I look back on the year, I am keenly aware that each thing that happened, happened for a reason. This includes the most difficult times and conversations that I have had in my entire life. If I had to explain to other survivors of childhood cancer what has happened to me, I'm not sure I could even do it...put it into words - I guess this blog has been a testimony of sorts to that end. Mostly, I think that I had to come to this place - as everyone does - in my own time and in my own way. I am blessed to have family and friends who have stood by me as I found my way.
Today is my birthday. I am thirty six years old today. Thirty six! Holy heck! I never thought I would be this old. I really didn't. What an amazing blessing life is. As a birthday gift to myself, I am making today my last blog entry. I have had several people encourage me to keep writing because I have so much to give. I agree. I do have much to give, but don't we all? Really. Each of us has so much to give in terms of experience and empathy and love. Writing this blog, in my mind, keeps me attached in some way to the past year and all of the struggles it contained. I'm ready to move on.
Don't worry - I still will give in my own way and in my own time. You can check out my photography website: angiepembertonphotography.com, and I have a feeling you'll be able to see quite deeply into my heart and soul there! Thanks so much for your support and love. It has meant the world to me!