November 15th / 2pm

We’ll come back to that date and time shortly.

But first, July 31st of this year / 2:30pm (and I know this thanks to a photo time stamp, not because of a stellar memory). It was a hot summer day so I decided to go grab an iced chai tea from one of my favorite local coffee shops. I pulled into the drive thru line, and immediately my eyes caught the attention of what was taking place right across the street.

A funeral.

It stopped me in my tracks. But why? This was not the first funeral I had witnessed taking place in my life. I felt tears welling up in my eyes before I even noticed an American flag draped over the casket and a gentleman dressed in uniform standing at attention just outside of the gathered crowd.

I hardly made it to the window to pay for my chai before having a good ol’ fashioned cry. In fact, I pulled into the parking lot of a different restaurant so I was directly across the street from the funeral taking place. I put my car in park, cried and prayed for the strangers I was looking at.

Something nudged me to pay special attention to how I was feeling in this moment

But why?

Here’s what I have learned since being diagnosed with cancer: on the days where you feel like your life is crumbling, the world keeps on spinning.

I knew this very thing before cancer, but there’s something about a season of suffering that makes you so in tune with what others might be going through. There’s a deeper level of empathy.  

I sat in my car praying for people I did not even know until every last person had left the cemetery. It hit me like a ton of bricks in that coffee shop drive thru that people right in front of me were very likely having what felt like the worst day of their life. Yet here I was ordering a chai, windows down, and feeling the stagnant breeze on my bald head. I watched cars rush by, and I knew 99% of them did not even realize they were speeding past a funeral. Taps playing quietly in the stillness of that space, despite everything else rushing around it.

It’s so tough to go through a season of sadness, challenge, loss and feel like the rest of the world just keeps on going. But here you are — so deeply carrying the emotions of something heavy and not knowing how you’ll take the very next step (yet you always do). But the rest of the world? Spinning like there’s not a single care.

I hope this season of my life forever keeps me in tune to the heavy moments and seasons others are carrying. Not just on the day they lose the job. Not just on the day they sign the divorce papers. Not just on the day of the funeral. Not just on the day where they see another negative pregnancy test. I hope to be in tune to a hard moment which turns into an entire season. In tune a month down the road when everyone else assumes they’ve picked themselves up, dusted the dirt off and started carrying on with life.

…and this goes for the celebratory moments, too. I hope I take the time to celebrate BIG the littlest of things in life for other people. I realize now just how important slowing down to do so really is.

November 15th / 2pm

On this day / time (well technically about 2:15) I will be done with my final radiation treatment (thanks to those who have asked). It’s a big milestone for cancer patients. After four+ weeks of showing up every single day, Monday – Friday, I will be done.

Chemo. Check!

Surgery. Check!

Radiation. Check!

The three biggest hurdles (God willing) of cancer. Check! Check! Check!

It’ll be a Monday in the middle of the afternoon. People will be on work calls. People will be headed to pick up their kiddos from school. People will be brushing off the weekend fog. People will be pushing through a case of the Mondays.

I’ll walk out of that cancer center and watch cars pass by on the busy street like I have after every chemo day, oncologist appointment, blood draw, infusion, and radiation treatment. I’ll see the cars drive by without any awareness of how many people within the very building they are passing (likely not even seeing) are having perhaps the hardest conversation of their life…and some of us are walking out having what feels like the best day of our life (or at least our year).

I will walk out of there with emotions I am certain I will not know what to do with. I will have walked out after just ringing the end of radiation bell (which cannot be done with a group inside like usual – thanks COVID, you still officially suck). I will walk out of that cancer center being able to take a deep breath. I will walk out quite literally dancing and celebrating in the parking lot, even if absolutely exhausted.  

…and the world will keep on spinning.

On your worst day and on your best day, the world just.keeps.spinning.

I’m thankful for a lot of things this detour chapter has brought to the forefront, including empathy to see / feel what others may be experiencing on any given day vs going through the grind and being oblivious to it all.

Please God, do not let me lose sight to when others need someone to sit in the hard with and/or do a celebratory dance with!  

{To those who have sat in the hard and/or celebrated with me through this so far, thank you}

One thought on “November 15th / 2pm

  1. You are correct, Sarah. Life goes on. I have told myself that many times. It just does. And that thought gives me a
    sensation of wonder in so many ways. But cheers to you, young lady, for all your strength and healing attitude.
    Take care.

    Like

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