As I write my book on how to tackle fear when faced with a traumatic life event, I think about what I would say to console my former frazzled self. I came up with this letter. I hope you can see that we always gain strength as we work through our problems. They are never as big as they seem in the moment. Fear works us and makes us think that our troubles are insurmountable. They rarely are. We usually find our way out and see the light at the end of the tunnel. These are the thoughts that I wish I had mastered when I was feeling like my world was bleak and my future uncertain. Cancer will do this to you – you just have to undo it in order to heal…
A Note to My Former Traumatized Self
My Dear Dolores,
I know how shaken you are after being told you have cancer. Your whole world is upside down and as much as you are trying to make light of it, the worst case scenario has, in fact, presented itself. The cancer has spread and you will have to face your worst nightmare – radiation, chemo and drugs. You are so rattled that your thoughts quickly turn from being pregnant and joyous to being paralyzed and fearful. You have forgotten who you are, what you have accomplished in the past, and the faith and trust in the flow of life that you thought you had mastered.
The vow you had made after your divorce from your ex-husband, to always be true to yourself, is now buried. You feel forsaken and forgotten. You are questioning your trust in God and everything you had learned about being healthy – physically and mentally. You are so distraught that you can hardly formulate a sentence without crying. You lost your joy and trust in life. You have to remind yourself to breathe and when you do, you wonder if you are going to live to see your child, the one you have wanted for decades. Your life feels like a joke. You finally have the devoted husband and the family you always wanted. I know cancer doesn’t fit in this beautiful life you have created for yourself, but one day you will understand. I promise you have not been forsaken.
What you have forgotten in your paralyzed state of fear is that you can choose your destiny with your thoughts. I realize that changing your thoughts overnight does not seem feasible now, but you will discover ways to tackle your fear. You can’t do what you need to do in your current fearful, untrusting, state. Once you are able to lift the veil of fear, you will see your path to healing and all of the gifts that come with it. You won’t see the gifts right away and many won’t feel like gifts at all.
This brings back memories of past traumas, doesn’t it? Remember how you always found your way out of a crisis? Remember how much wisdom you had looking back? You will do that again this time. Trust that you will find yourself again and that you will come out of this even stronger and wiser. Be assured that there truly is a divine plan. Maybe it is bigger than you thought. Perhaps you knew this all along but you just wanted to play and enjoy life for a while.
Now it is time to grow. It doesn’t have to be a long painful process if only you can let go of the stranglehold you have on fear. You don’t need to cling to it to survive. As a matter of fact it is holding you back from what you need to do and that is to trust and listen. You can be guided out of this. You have many helpers waiting to show you the way. This is not about death or suffering but about life and how to live it. As with any hard life lesson the sooner you master what it is you need to learn, the more quickly you will find your way through it. Trust yourself and listen to your inner voice and you will find the answers. You are more powerful than you think.
Your Older, Wiser Self