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Journal?

luz del lago's picture
luz del lago
Posts: 452
Joined: Jul 2010

Do any of you journal? Don't really know if this topic goes here, but when I write, I examine my spirituality, I pray and I meditate. I never really kept a journal, many times I attempted to but I suppose I either felt I was too busy or perhaps my life wasn't dramatic enough to record. When my love was diagnosed with lung cancer, I purchased two beautifully bound journals, one for each of us. I guess I now believed there was enough "drama" to record! My first attempts seemed more about schedules, treatments and appointments. I think I was afraid to write about the doubt, the fear and the idea of losing him. As time progressed I began to open up to myself. In my writing I began to know myself. My weaknesses, my strengths, my joys and my anguish.
In the beginning, I marked the half way point of the blank pages. From the front to the middle I wrote of the happiness in my days, the love, the hope. From the back to the middle, I wrote of the sadness, the despair, the questioning. Somehow I wished that there would be more on the "happy" side, or at least stay even.

When I had finished this first journal, and believe me, I was amazed that I had to go and purchase a second one, I began to develop a different approach to my writing. I didn't date the entries, as in those days I chose not to count time. I suppose it was because I didn't want to know how many days were left in regards to the estimate of survival time we had been given for my love. But towards the end of his life, I felt a need to record the dates. Maybe I thought I would need to know how I felt on those dates in the future.

Through writing I discovered that I needed to know where I stood in my spirituality. I have always had a "wonder" about organized religion. And thus it began. I began to read and explore the Bible. Concentrated on the recorded words of God, in particular. I needed to know for myself what He wants me to know. Not another's outlook. I'm old enough to understand what the meanings are to me. In the beginning of this spiritual journey, my love believed that I was challenging our religion ( Catholic). I shared with him that it was my desire to learn. Then he thought that it would make a great debate topic for us, and someone would come out victorious and win the debate. No way! I told him that I would respect his faith, but asked for the same.

Don't know if you care to know, but I'll share... My spiritual journey has led me to believe in God. To believe in His love and greatness. Where I go to praise Him, ask Him for help? Anywhere and everywhere. Many times, in my journal, I write to God. Since losing my love I have expressed my deep grief, anger and loneliness in the pages. I know that just because I believe in God, doesn't mean I don't get to feel these things. I also write to my love. Throughout our 29 years of marriage we wrote to each other almost daily. Love notes, you made me mad notes, sexy notes... I now have his words recorded for all time, and will treasure them like diamonds!

As for my love, he never really filled the pages of his journal. Many times he shared that doing certain things felt to him as he was giving up. I told him that I hoped he didn't think that I was giving up. I would be by his side through it all, and praying that he would be well. As I see it now, his notes were his way of writing. Two days before he went to be with the Lord, he wrote his last words to me, almost illegible, but he wrote," I love and adore you" and signed it, Dennis.

Noellesmom
Posts: 1299
Joined: Aug 2010

Thank you for sharing.

Hugs.

believeit 2011
Posts: 39
Joined: Dec 2010

That’s very nice of you to share that, thanks. When I began my own personal cancer journey I hoped to do a journal. I took a different path in my treatment and I wanted to document it for future (if I had one) reference. Unfortunately I made it about a week before I lost interest. These forums function like a journal for many people. On the colorectal board (where I started) there are many people who describe, in great detail, their ordeal with cancer and their emotional being. This is a good spot to describe your religious views including how they affected your journal. Your post made me recall my Mother’s journal we discovered shortly after her death. My Father died at forty-two years old leaving my Mom with six kids. I was too young (18 months) to know any emotional trauma she may have experienced but my siblings and I all shared stories of “incidents” throughout our lives. Small clues that our Mom was not as strong as she portrayed. I only remember relatives and people we knew always saying how strong my Mom was and how cheerful she was in spite of her situation and we all felt the same, it was only after her death at 72 that found out the truth. My Mom kept a journal for an uncertain period of time. She, like you, didn’t date all the pages but we ascertained a timeline through events mentioned. We learned of the absolute heartache and despair she felt at times after my Dad’s death. She wrote about the guilt she felt even years after when a man would ask her on a date or even to a social lunch. She never even dated (32 years) after my father’s death. The journal was the only vent, the only ears she could share her feelings with and without it she may not have emotionally survived. My Mom also wrote to my Father after he passed expressing her thoughts and fears and I’m sure it was her therapy. My brothers and sisters each took turns reading sections on our own not really discussing it with each other and we at times felt a bit guilty looking into “someone’s soul” as it seemed but it was our individual choice to do it or not. Looking back now, personally, it gave me a greater appreciation for my Mom and how I now chose to handle adversity.
I still hope to start one someday and I’ll tell my own kids it’s up to them to read it if and when I die.
Thanks for sharing,
Chris

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5738
Joined: Apr 2009

I must agree that is a very beautiful post about you and your love one and taking care of him to the end.

God be with you
Hondo

3Mana
Posts: 829
Joined: Aug 2010

Lucy,
What a great idea! Having those last words that Dennis wrote to you is something you will always cherish I'm sure. Keep writing, I think you've found a new hobby! Carole

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
Posts: 4667
Joined: May 2005

Great post. I think that writing can help one through this (cancer) or it can just be therapeutic or fun anyway. A short time after I was diagnosed I started to blog. I had two different blogs. One was for humor and assorted posts and the other was for cancer. I kept at it for a few years and it really helped me with letting it all out but then not too much was happening treatment wise and I started to post less. I still have them but haven't posted in a while.
-phil

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

They have a blogging option on this site and I have used it for some time. My experience is similar to yours, phil, I suppose, in that, as the treatment has decreased so too has my posting. Still, I find the occasional thing to pass on and people seem to enjoy it on a hit/miss basis.

It IS a good way to explain to oneself what one is going through in the most troubling of times. Me, of course, I combined the cancer AND the humor :).

Take care,

Joe

Hopeful720's picture
Hopeful720
Posts: 92
Joined: Feb 2010

I have been writing since I can remember... short stories, beginnings to novels, poems, and of course journaling. Now is the time that writing would be beneficial - and I cannot write a single word...

Maybe it makes it too real to put pen to paper - to write about my dad's journey.

I want to write again. I hope to bring it back into my life. This thread was inspiring.

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

Try: The day my dad died...and go from there, hopeful, backward, forward, whatever.

Take care,

Joe

Hopeful720's picture
Hopeful720
Posts: 92
Joined: Feb 2010

I am going to try your suggestion.

Peace and warmth,

Lauren

Hopeful720's picture
Hopeful720
Posts: 92
Joined: Feb 2010

Thank you for sharing your beautiful story with us.

What a great gift to have the love notes you shared with your husband.

Thoughts are with you.

- Hopeful

luz del lago's picture
luz del lago
Posts: 452
Joined: Jul 2010

Reading your words, your sentiments has made me feel that I am still alive and I matter. When you lose the other half of your heart, things don't seem possible for awhile. Your interesting concepts and ideas keep me thinking all the time and are a wonderful rest from the challenges of my days.

Blessings, positive thoughts and good wishes to all,

Lucy

mariam_11_09's picture
mariam_11_09
Posts: 693
Joined: Nov 2009

How beautiful that you were able to keep a journal. I am very touched about your writings to God and how you express your grief and anger and loneliness. It very much reminded me of the Sufi poet Rumi. He had a very deep spiritual connection and friendship with a man called Shams. When Shams disappeared and could not be found, Rumi was so overcome with grief and loneliness. He began circling a pole in his garden and through that circling and spinning (now know as Whirling Dervishes) he realised that he and Shams were not apart (he was Shams and Shams was he). He was able to move through his grief into a place of joy with his true beloved - God.

Our grief can be a gateway, a portal into something else more beautiful if we allow ourselves to fully experience it and let go.

luz del lago's picture
luz del lago
Posts: 452
Joined: Jul 2010

Even before my love passed, he and I had gone to the coast and spent a beautiful time there. We loved, we slept, we walked on the beach. One morning as he slept and I awoke early, I sat out on the balcony and looked out into the water. We had been there before but this time things looked so different to me. Were things different or was I looking at them differently, or really looking at them for the first time? The thought that came to me was, that God should create this place, this moment, for me! That He would fill me with peace and calm so that I would be able to revel in this beautiful moment and know His love for me! That moment I made the decision that when my love would pass I would return one day to this place. That when my grieving is done, I will walk on this beach and stand in the water and let the ebb and flow of the waves take the sorrow away.
So remarkable to me that you would share this particular story of Rumi!

mariam_11_09's picture
mariam_11_09
Posts: 693
Joined: Nov 2009

That is so beautiful, that you can recognise the moment and be in it to feel the love, the peace, the calm and to know that each moment is a gift from God created for us ... or just that each moment is gift ... Being present, spiritually present that is, does seem to give us a different view, a different lense through which view life and hence experience it.

When I received my cancer diagnosis I felt that everything is perfect the way it is, that while the bombs are falling flowers spring up in the spaces in between. We cannot ignore the bombs and the flowers have such intense beauty that they bring us joy. Being able to get a glimpse of the bigger picture for me, seems to help put things in perspective.

When I read your words, the story of Rumi came to mind. For many Sufi orders it is required that you be married in order to be a murjeed (Sufi sutdent/follower). Part of the reasoning behind it is that through your love, devotion and commitment to another you it will better enable you to realise and develop your love, devotion and commitment to God. I seem to be seeing that around me more in couples (of any religion) that I know and am very deeply touched by it. As I was by your story. I am sure there is a message/lesson in this for me and in time it will reveal itself. So I say thank-you to you for sharing this with us.

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