Yesterday I had coffee with an amazing writer with a very similar melanoma story. I was so fortunate to be able to meet and talk with this person, and she made me feel incredibly supported and positive. I was actually holding back tears of joy on my way home, feeling so immensely lucky that I have kind, generous people lifting me up, even someone who had just met me. And, in particular, the value of being able to talk to someone who understands what I’m going through, who has very much “been there,” is immeasurable. I go to a weekly wellness group at Gilda’s Club and talk with a wonderful group of women, all dealing with cancer, and the ways in which we can support each other just by sharing and understanding this experience is so special and meaningful.
Sometimes when I think about this, I feel twinges of regret. Having more of an understanding of what it is like to go through this, I feel like when my aunt Mona was going through it, I didn’t do as much as I could have. I could have made her feel more supported. I could have talked to her more about it. I could have called more. I could have just checked in and talked about mundane things. I could have asked her more about what she was going through and how it felt. Sometimes I wasn’t sure what the right thing to say would be, so I stayed silent. That was such a mistake. I wish I had told her every day that I loved her, was in awe of her, and was there for her, whatever she needed. I wish I had been warmer.
I know not to dwell on what I cannot change. And I know that she knows. What I take from it is that I want as few regrets as possible. And that means being more emotionally expressive, being more loving, and making sure people know just how much I care. And I will work to do that, because nothing could be more worthwhile.