Yes, We Have Holes, But We Carry On

brca world - strengthWe gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we  really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we  cannot.  — Eleanor Roosevelt

We are stronger than we know.  Fear and circumstance knock us down, but we are resilient.  The world continues to move around us and, though we are surprised and spiteful of this constancy, we move along with it.  That, in itself, is strength:  the ability to continue breathing, despite the holes in our lives, carved out by loss.  We carry on.

Strength does not always mean fight.  It does not mean a lack of tears or terror.  It means continuing to live despite the loss, and fear, and hurt.  Despite the holes.  It is drawing courage from the experience.  It is a refusal to stop breathing.

I have added a few new holes to my heart this year.  One was added this weekend.  Each time, I crumble quietly, in isolation.  When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I panicked.  I collapsed.  But there were decisions to be made…other people to comfort…life continued.  Curling up in the fetal position, in a cave somewhere, wasn’t an option (I checked).  What are our options?  We make our decisions.  We continue to live.  We carry on.

Getting diagnosed with a BRCA mutation, or cancer, drops you to your knees.  But you are more powerful than you think.  You will move on.  You will live.  It may not seem like it, but you will.  You have reserves of strength you never knew possible.  You will choose your path — one decision at a time.  You will pick yourself up and keep walking.

It never ceases to amaze me what might and courage can be found in this community.  It is not always the in-your-face kind.  Sometimes, it is quiet.  It is the will to carry on.  And it isn’t just strength of the individual, but of the community.  When you can’t find the will to walk on your own, we are here to pick you up and carry you.  We are not fazed by the holes, as we have them too.

Find your power in your hurt.  Those holes can breed courage.  Define yourself by this, not by those damn BRCA genes or tumors.  The wounds we suffer are not who we are.  We are the strength.  We are the stubborn refusal to yield.  We are the hands that help others walk.  Define yourself by these qualities, not by the holes.  The holes may remain, but we will carry on, as THAT is who we are.

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4 responses to “Yes, We Have Holes, But We Carry On”

  1. Nancy's Point says :

    Thank you for your inspirational words. Here’s to carrying on…despite the holes, maybe even partly because of them.

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