I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma, like Kelly, when I was 16. For me, seeing someone with the exact same diagnosis portrayed on mainstream television and watching her overcome it offered a certain validation to all of the pain and fears that had come along with going through cancer treatment, especially as a kid. I, too, went through the fear of becoming close to people. I struggled to let anyone too close for fear of breaking them if something happened to me, or of my heart being broken if something happened to them. After losing 3 friends to cancer it became hard to trust the timing. They were just kids, we were all just kids. We had to learn lessons that children should never have to learn.
Seeing Kelly push Charlie away to protect him, then ultimately see her realize that in doing so she was also hurting herself, really hit home. To see them reunite on that bridge, as promised, and to have Kelly seemingly come back from the dead was beyond beautiful. It reminded me of the feeling of an almost rebirth, when you're told you're in remission and that you've conquered the beast. That life will go on, you can breathe a sigh of relief and begin to rebuild yourself from the bottom up. Thankfully, I made it to the other end of my treatment stronger in every way possible. After a while, I was no longer a frozen snowman. God prevailed in healing my body and my heart. I learned to trust the timing once more.
I realized that while I was busy fighting for my life God had given me one of the greatest gifts possible, one rarely afforded to young people---perspective. Never again will I wake up worried about a bad hair day---at least I'm not bald. I will never think, this is the worst day ever---I've faced and seen so much worse. I will never take a day, a moment, a person, or an experience for granted. This was God's gift to me, and it has led to true and pure happiness.
Next month, I celebrate my 17th year in remission. Every year, when November 15th circles around, I am reminded of every emotion that I went through during that year of treatment. But, at the end of the day, all I'm left with is sincere and wholehearted gratitude. It's that feeling Shane and Oliver experienced when he came down off of that mountain in Lost Without You, when you realize that you could have lost it all---but you didn't, that YOU were chosen to survive and that YOUR life matters. You have a purpose. We must not lose sight of that gratitude, and that purpose to serve God, and one another, even on our most difficult days.
God has given me a second chance to truly live. I live my life everyday remembering those who have lost their battles, and I am grateful for every moment that I'm given to connect with those around me. I'm so appreciative of the POstables family that I have found thanks to our sweet SSD, and that so many of you share a little part of yourselves with me.
The Living Letters series continues as long as there are stories (or even praise reports) to share, and I'm always looking for submissions. If you would like to contribute something about how Signed, Sealed, Delivered has impacted your life (or even your wardrobe) that you'd be willing to share here on A&D, feel free to email me. Keep the good going and submit yours today!