How Are You?

by | Mar 31, 2021 | Blog

It’s an age-old question that we use to open up conversations. But when you have something deeper going on, being asked this question isn’t always so innocent. Sometimes there’s an underlying, “what’s going on?”

This journey of breast cancer is breaking me open in whole new ways. And people, my loved ones, open up conversations with this most sincere of questions. It’s a question I don’t always want to answer because it brings me into places I may not be ready to go to in the moment.

How am I? Honestly, I’m scared. Last night while I lay in bed, I had the image of my right breast being sliced away and it terrified me. In the moment, I gave my fears up to God and asked for guidance. I have a big week coming up. Bi-lateral MRI. Initial consult with the breast surgeon. I’m doing my best to live in the open question and stay present.

I know I’m surrounded by love and I feel it every day. Today though, I’ve been crying off and on all day. What it feels like though is the release of emotions I’ve held in for many years. I’ve always been proud of being tough, able to withstand just about anything. This is cracking me open and I’m being with it.

I find solace walking by the river near me. On my walk today, I exchanged energy with my favorite tree. Asking her to take my sadness down to the depths of the earth as tears ran down my cheeks.

I then happened upon a woman walking her two golden retrievers. One of them couldn’t get to me fast enough and tried to jump on me as if to give me a hug. Then another woman walking her dog who happily exchanged love with me.

This is one of the things I miss about having animals. They always knew when I was upset or going through something. They all brought their own unique gifts and connected with my soul in different ways. We didn’t have to say anything, we could just be together, communicating through our hearts. It’s pure and natural. They just know and sit with you. It’s a beautiful and sacred exchange of love.

Recently, I’ve been in conversations with people I love, and invariable some of them tell me of their own fears, or how they’d feel. The stories of a friend whose doctor didn’t get all of her cancer, who is now living out the rest of her good days. Someone telling me they’d be scared shitless. Others telling me of their own cancer journey.

We all want connection, but this isn’t the connection I want or need for me right now. I love that people want to show their concern. But right now, I’m doing my best to not feed into the fear. In many ways, I’m going through the five levels of grief and it’s not a linear process.

We all come into this lifetime with our own unique agreements. Things to work through, lessons to learn, shit to deal with. It’s not my responsibility to make sure you’re OK. If your own fears are coming up, I love you, but that’s for you to process.

On a call with a friend this afternoon, on something totally unrelated, he created space where I was able to vent for a few minutes. There was no judgment. I was able to say what I needed to say and I was done. It had nothing to do with him, and the space he created felt sacred.

Be with me. This is what I ask. Parts of me are dying and I’m grieving. I’m releasing old thoughts patterns and energies (this is a really good thing). I don’t know what’s coming and I’m trying to not project.

I’m also setting stronger boundaries to not take on your fears. You need to work through your own, as am I. This is part of the agreement you made for your own life. We are in this shared experience for a reason, and I may be a catalyst for you to heal some of your own wounds. I cannot and will not heal them for you.

Instead of asking, “how are you,” tell me that you’re thinking of me, sending me love and healing energy. Ask me how you can support me. I’ll share when I’m ready.

Stephanie B. McAuliffe
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