I recently went to a cancer retreat full of women who have been impacted by the disease. We were all at different stages of our journeys and it was a pretty eye opening experience. There were people who were able to say that cancer is now in their rear view, and others who were in late stages of cancer.
One woman had recently been put on hospice. She was probably the most positive and at peace with her journey out of all of us. She told me how she had been planning her funeral and she was excited about a list of songs that she came up with for her family to play in honor of her life. For example, she said (in a joking but stern voice), her family better play that song by P!nk. You know, the one that goes, “I’m coming up so you better get this party started!” I couldn’t help but laugh when she said that and as sad as I had been at the start of my conversation with her, I ended the conversation with a different outlook. She was content with the life she lived and it was such a touching conversation that really put things into perspective.
Back to the retreat- It was at a really cute spot right by the ocean in New Jersey called “Mary’s Place by the Sea.” I wanted to share a little more about it because it was a great program for women who have been or currently are going through cancer and by the way, it was totally free! (Click HERE to check out their website. I can’t recommend this program enough so if you’re a woman going through cancer I encourage you to look into it or share with someone who this may benefit. Let me know if you have any questions and I’m happy to share more about my experience!)
I actually went with my mom who, as many of you know, is fighting thyroid cancer. There were two other people who came together as well, but most people came without knowing anyone. We all became like family by the end and I just can’t recommend it enough! Volunteers cooked us breakfast and lunch each day and provided a few activities which, again, were free of charge. Some things that guests could choose from included an oncologic massage, reiki sessions, guided imagery, or counseling.
One of the workshops I attended was called “expressive writing” and I loved it. I left feeling a renewed desire to get back to blogging, but also frustration with where to start. During the class I told the instructor how much I had loved writing while I was undergoing chemotherapy and how therapeutic it had been, but that I really struggle with writing now.
She talked about writer’s block and said that many times it’s not a result of us lacking information to write about, but it’s our mind’s way of blocking us from thinking about anything that may be a bit traumatic. BINGO! Cancer was traumatic and just reading my old blog posts will bring me to tears sometimes. No wonder I’ve been keeping my distance from my keyboard. She also told us how important it is to work through that block instead of giving into it She gave us some writing exercises to help work through those blocks and I feel like it was an invaluable session.
I wanted to just put this out there for everyone who takes the time to read my blog because I appreciate each of you so much. I’ve decided that this is something I need to get back to for my own mental wellness, but mostly because I want to keep sharing things that may be helpful to others, whether you’re going through cancer or not. I plan to jump back in full force and get this blog up and running again. I have to start somewhere, so here it is; My new (and sunny) era!
Stay tuned for more consistent posts, but in the meantime, you can subscribe using the prompt below and you’ll get an email whenever I post a new blog. No spam or annoying newsletter, I promise!
9 thoughts on “A new, sunny era”
So glad you had a blessed time at the retreat. I loved your friend’s funeral song/idea. Wouldn’t that be something to witness… lol.
I’m sorry about your mom. Praying for your her!
It’s good to see you back blogging! Looking forward to reading more! 🙂
God loves you, Crystal!
PS. I once read advice from a famous writer saying a writer should write every day, even if it’s just in a private journal and says, “I don’t have anything to write today.”
Crystal, I am so sorry about your mom. I somehow missed that story. I will keep her in my prayers. I hope that I never need to go to that retreat but it sounds wonderful. I have an elderly mom with dementia and needs assistance with almost everything but feeding herself. She has fought and beat lung, breast, bladder and skin cancer, so I know your fears….well not exactly because I didn’t go through it like you but I am familiar with it. I am so glad the teacher inspired you to write again. You are so talented and inspire so many people. I love your positive attitude. I also love the name of your blog!
Praying for you and your family.
Love it. Giving me so much to contemplate in the next stage of life.
I’m happy that you will be writing again. You are good at it. Keep at it! 💕
Crystal, Ocean Grove is a special place on the Jersey Shore. I was stationed close, at Avon By-The-Sea, with the Coast Guard a while back. I’m happy you’ve decided to keep up blogging.
Your retreat sounds amazing ♥️ It’s amazing what other warriors can teach us. Looking forward to your future posts ♥️
Crystal, I’m so glad you’re writing again. I lost my beautiful Momma to metastatic squamous cell carcinoma almost a year ago. She followed your battle closely and was so excited for you to beat it. Much love to you!
So glad you’re back writing! You have a lot to give and this is one way to do that. My prayers are with you and your mom. Know God has a plan for our lives and it’s all in His hands. Keep following your heart sweet girl, the future holds amazing things yet to come!💕
Sorry to find out about your mom’s battle. I’m sure you a great comfort to her. Your new blog is great, sorry to praise you so much! You are a wonderful person and I enjoy your comments and candid conversation. Prayers for you mom and your continued good health.