Kathryn E. Vinson, MS, CCRC
As 2018 is drawing to a close, we here at Cancer Horizons want to take some time to thank you, our dear friends, for allowing us to be a part of your lives. This year has been a tremendous journey with ups and downs, joys and sorrows. I know that I speak for my fellow writers here, as well as myself, when I say what an honor it has been so share these journeys with you. It is our hope that we are able bring you knowledge, understanding, and though sometimes a tear, also some joy or laughter.
Our Wishes for You
It goes without saying that we all pray that a day comes when cancer doesn’t happen. The strides being made on a daily basis are reason for us to all give thanks. When I think about how far we have come in the last twenty-five, fifty, and even hundred years – I am absolutely blown away.
I pray for every one of you fighting this beast, for your strength of mind and body, and that a cure is found for your disease – as each type of cancer is a disease unto itself. I pray that your families and friends are there to support you, and also for their strength.
I pray for the wisdom of our cancer treatment teams. For their compassion, for their knowledge, for the calling that brought them to us.
Last, but certainly not least, I pray for amazing memories for everyone. Regardless of if you are fighting a disease, or if you are the picture of health – loving memories with family and loved ones are what its all about. Letting go of my control freak tendencies and allowing the boys to decorate the Christmas tree. It’s a bit lop sided – but who cares! They had fun doing it, and it was a riot to watch them. Putting together a frustrating puzzle with my dad and grandmother. Teaching the kids a new card game. This is where memories are made.
The Coat of Many Colors
Many of you will recall that I’m a Texas girl, so it should come as no surprise that I was raised on the amazing songs of Dolly Parton. Two of her songs come to mind at Christmas time – “Hard Candy Christmas” and “The Coat of Many Colors”. To be honest, I never really listened to the words in these songs until about ten years ago. Of course, I knew the words and could sing them from memory, but I hadn’t every really thought about them until about ten years ago. Even if you aren’t a country music fan, I encourage you to listen to the words of these songs, or look up the lyrics and give them some thought.
As cancer patients, cancer survivors, their family and friends, I pray that we have learned that there is more to Christmas, or Hanukkah, or Kwanza, than the material. When I wrote to you about grief earlier this week, it was after the passing of a lifelong friend following his battle with our common nemesis. As we said our final goodbyes to him, I realized that every word of tribute was part of that coat of many colors for his family. It is my prayer that they take those words, the patches in the coat if you will allow me to continue my analogy, and wrap themselves in the comfort of that coat.
My greatest wish for all of you though, is that you start making your coat right now. Don’t wait until an ending – which can be the ending of anything – when the kids go away to school, when you leave college, when your family has to move – to start collecting those memories. Jot them down in a spiral notebook or open the note app on your phone and keep that joyous moment. Sadly, cancer has a lot of power in our lives – but one thing it cannot do is take our memories and our love. If cancer has you down, wrap yourself in your coat of joyous memories and love.
As always, and even more during the holiday season, much love, many prayers, and abundant blessings to all of the warriors out there!