Where am I going? Where have I been? What am I going to do? Ah, that’s the question I want to focus on this Friday.
When you have lived through several diagnoses of cancer, and won, you struggle with what is known as “Survivor’s Guilt.” For me, this guilty feeling just never goes away. I can’t stop thinking about why I was left here. I am not looking for sympathy or anything like that. I’m just stating a feeling I have and others I know have. The fact you are alive and others who you have fought cancer with in previous years are not stays with you. I guess like Veterans who survived war time and witnessed the passing of their friends in uniform. I believe there are some things that just don’t go away so easily.
I work part time at Greenleaf Compassionate Care Center as a Patient Outreach Coordinator, providing education to others not only as a nurse, but as a survivor, who not too long ago was a new patient, bald and frail and working through the stress as a Director of Nursing of a facility. Fear of the unknown can be crippling. It was for me. I recall so many unknowns as I entered the doors at Greenleaf in Portsmouth, RI that very first time.
I work at a local nursing home on a sub acute rehab unit. I chose the night shift, as I am no longer interested in management type positions. I enjoy being a staff nurse. Holding my residents hand when they are hurting, emotionally or physically, or possibly transitioning them to cross over to another chapter. Watching them taking their last breath. I wonder sometimes what it feels like. I wonder where they go. What are they seeing and experiencing?
Then there is my work here at NiqueWear. NiqueWear is where I work with my fiancé, Bobby and my future sister in law, Terri to create clothing with a purpose and meaning. The message that incorporates NiqueWear was a gift given to me from my father, “It’s a good life if you don’t weaken”, and sometimes I feel it would just be so much easier to weaken. But, then I remember my passion. My passion is to help others see inside their soul and find the meaning to their life. I feel that when you see other people who have had hardship and overcame the obstacles, it gives you the courage to keep moving forward and chasing your dreams.
It sounds so cliche’ the importance of staying in the ” now”. Being trending or happening or whatever social media dictates is what I should be doing or saying. Some will say “we cannot fix what has passed, we cannot make the future happen, all we have is now.” Well, I took on this journey to the bottom of my soul to do what I feel is right going forward. I’m not going to fix every problem, every relationship I have severed. I get that. But, my passion now and going forward is to help people find peace and understanding in their life. Whether it is a peaceful conversation at my patient’s side while they struggle for clarity in their final moments or working with amazing men and women fighting to raise awareness for medical marijuana for their child, I am passionate about making a difference. When you add to that the wisdom gained in life over the past 47 years, it humbles you.
Please note, the photography provided in this blog is courtesy of Europa Photography. Europa is one of the most incredible photography studios and has photographed me several times over the past few years. I can’t begin to write down in words how much they mean to me and my evolution emotionally. Thank you Kim and everyone associated with Europa Photography.