I’ve never been truly alone at Christmas. I am not without some friendships and blessings as the circle of life has blessed me with the opportunity to chase my dreams in California, but it is not without sacrifice. I have no family here. I understand that family does not, and is not always blood, but in this time of reflection my heart aches for my family. Life is humbling like that. When we “have” we don’t understand until we “have not”.

I visit patients in their homes and I see their holiday spirit. The presents, the traditions, the love for the simple things like the lights that hang from the Christmas tree. I watch those suffering with health issues, and I learned of a condition in my studies this week known as “Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy”, or “Broken Heart Syndrome”. It can be caused by the pain experienced by loss. I was blessed to study this diagnosis this week. It made me understand even more critically the importance of healing. Healing from so many experiences in life that cause us pain and suffering. My journey is different than yours, and our suffering may be seen at opposite places in the spectrum of circumstances, but I think by the time you are my age you understand the pain of a “broken heart”.

It has been a difficult week as I pass by the Christmas and holiday decorations. The memories I hold on to of the magical childhood that my parents created for my siblings and I. Knowing that I may never give my mom a hug again, that my daughter might not ever understand the intimate details of our broken relationship, and my sons journey in the military which takes him all over the world ~ breathe I tell myself, just breathe.

Presents under the tree. There is no tree this year. Soon I will have my own home, but for now I feel as if I’m invading the space of a beautiful family that believed in me enough to give me another chance at life. No one talks about life after cancer much. We are coined with the title of “Survivor”, but did you ever truly understand what we are surviving? For me, I am surviving fear of the unknown while grasping at the true meaning of Christmas.

“What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace.” Agnes M. Pharo

Nique Pichette MSN, RN
Cannabis Nurse Navigator
Veteran USMC
Cannabis Patient