Goose bumps and Rachel Platten

There are moments in life that are goose bump moments.  I’m sure you know the ones that I mean: you listen to a song, or a story, or read a quote 🙂 or even watch a movie and in that particular moment of your life, it appears that those words were meant just for you.

Well, Friday morning culminated in a string of goose bump moments for me.

But like all good goose bump moments, there is a back story.  And this back story started a month or so ago when I was contacted by a manager of one of our city’s Malls.  She wanted to host a breast cancer survivor’s breakfast during the month of October and needed help getting in touch with a few survivors, around 30 in fact!  Well, our little group of volunteers put our heads together and started contacting a number of patients we had visited in hospital over the last year or two in order to invite them to a free breakfast, just to celebrate being a survivor 🙂

So on Friday morning we arrived at the designated coffee shop and thus began the most incredible morning of goose bump moments for me.  As the ladies started walking through the door I soon began to realise that this little gathering was not something particularly “little” for many of these women.  I had been so busy arranging, phoning and confirming numbers that I hadn’t actually stopped to consider the significance of a morning like this.  One lady confessed that this was her first public acknowledgement of her diagnosis , five years after her surgery and treatment!  And I figured out quite quickly that apparently I was not the only one who has a fear of acknowledging my survivorship for fear of “jinxing the whole thing” – a fact that felt particularly good to share and even giggle (nervously) about!

So over the next two hours personal testimonies were shared over cups of coffee and yummy breakfasts. What struck me was the particular dynamics of those 30 + survivors: all representatives of various cultures, ages, professions and social standing.  And the differences didn’t stop there, there were ladies at various stages of treatment too – some only a few months post surgery, some still having chemo, some still completing radiation, some many years down the line, and one starting the whole process again after another diagnosis.  But of far more importance were the similarities they shared: these were mothers, wives, sisters, grandmothers, aunts and girlfriends who realised that they were most certainly not alone and that they each had a unique story to tell.

Looking around that room I recognised many faces.  Women I had personally visited in hospital, (and despite the initial recognition), I was completely astounded by their transformation.  When I had last seen these women, a day or two post surgery, they were facing some of their most dark and vulnerable days.  Still trying to catch up with the reality and enormity of the situation they found themselves in – waiting fearfully for test results and treatment plans.  However, in this room, in this particular place in time, most of these very same women were laughing, sharing stories, showing off eyebrow tattoos and the like, and dispensing advice to the “new recruits”.  And I can almost guarantee that a lot more healing was done, all in the most humbling and empowering way.

Real goose bump stuff!

So while driving home, listening to the radio and reflecting on the morning…….another goose bump moment (and my only quote for today), thanks to Rachel Platten……..

“Hands, put your empty hands in mine
And scars—show me all the scars you hide
And hey, if your wings are broken
Please take mine so yours can open, too
‘Cause I’m gonna stand by you

Oh, tears make kaleidoscopes in your eyes
And hurt, I know you’re hurting, but so am I
And, love, if your wings are broken
Borrow mine ’til yours can open, too
‘Cause I’m gonna stand by you

Even if we’re breaking down, we can find a way to break through
Even if we can’t find heaven, I’ll walk through Hell with you
Love, you’re not alone, ’cause I’m gonna stand by you
Even if we can’t find heaven, I’m gonna stand by you
Even if we can’t find heaven, I’ll walk through Hell with you
Love, you’re not alone, ’cause I’m gonna stand by you

Yeah, you’re all I never knew I needed
And the heart—sometimes it’s unclear why it’s beating
And, love, if your wings are broken
We can brave through those emotions, too
‘Cause I’m gonna stand by you

Oh, truth—I guess truth is what you believe in
And faith—I think faith is having a reason
And I know now, love, if your wings are broken
Borrow mine ’til yours can open, too
‘Cause I’m gonna stand by you

Even if we’re breaking down, we can find a way to break through
Even if we can’t find heaven, I’ll walk through Hell with you
Love, you’re not alone, ’cause I’m gonna stand by you
Even if we can’t find heaven, I’m gonna stand by you
Even if we can’t find heaven, I’ll walk through Hell with you
Love, you’re not alone, ’cause I’m gonna stand by you

I’ll be your eyes ’til yours can shine
And I’ll be your arms, I’ll be your steady satellite
And when you can’t rise, well, I’ll crawl with you on hands and knees
‘Cause I… I’m gonna stand by you

Even if we’re breaking down, we can find a way to break through, come on
Even if we can’t find heaven, I’ll walk through Hell with you
Love, you’re not alone, ’cause I’m gonna stand by you
Even if we can’t find heaven, I’m gonna stand by you
Even if we can’t find heaven, I’ll walk through Hell with you
Love, you’re not alone, ’cause I’m gonna stand by you
Love, you’re not alone
Oh, I’m gonna stand by you
Even if we can’t find heaven, heaven, heaven
Yeah, I’m gonna stand by you”

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