Candle #3

Three Years

Some anniversaries are solitary and often I hold those tightest to my deepest and hidden places, but they still matter. And though solitary, I have learned there is a soul-connected sharing with some individuals who are tethered to this journey with me and for that, I thank you. When the riptides come, as they are sure to do, I know I have a human chain that will lead me back to shore. I thank you for witnessing my journey and I hope I create the same space to witness your journey. The tides will come and go and to mix the metaphor, it reminds me of something James Taylor says in one of my favorite songs…

“We are bound together by the task
That stands before us
And the road that lies ahead
We are bound, and we are bound”.

So, today is three years of being bound with others for a task we did not seek. Three years since my bilateral mastectomy and a journey through reconstruction, chemotherapy and all the complications that are still in my everyday life as a cancer patient. I honored this date on the first and second anniversaries with a picture and a candle and wasn’t sure if I wanted to do the same this year.

Today after time with a trusted circle of women who have experienced breast cancer (thank you, Creative Transformations), I decided I would still light the #3 candle. Wrapped in beads from someone who has witnessed my journey mostly from a screen (thank you, @bossierthanbreastcancer for the handful of magical in person moments, too), smelling the sea roses and ocean breeze and feeling the strong June sun in my backyard, I lit the #3 candle and made my wish for the year ahead with the full realization that there is guilt in “survivorship” and sometimes I don’t know how to do the work. Sometimes it puts me to my knees and yet I am bringing my vulnerable self and I am showing up.

Showing Up

As my friend (and writing mentor – look up Write with Tanya to maybe join our group) wrote today in her blog from her kickass business, JAK Designs, “I too, have been watching the world from behind a mask for over a year.” So here I am, another year being acknowledged and seen and taking down the mask by sharing my story. Being seen is important and in this corner of social media, you have helped me feel seen. Thank you. It mattered.

Earlier tonight I was on my yoga mat, sharing one last Zoom screen with others experiencing cancer (we will tiptoe into being together in the studio next week) and I lit a second candle for gratitude. I lit it for healing. I lit it for Rett and all the missed loved ones. I lit it for sacred spaces and connections, even by Facebook, Instagram and Zoom. And I blew the candle out and the only wish I had was for peace to shine. So, it only seems appropriate to end this post with more from the James Taylor song…

Shed a little light, oh Lord (shed a little light, oh Lord)
So that we can see, oh yeah
Just a little light, oh Lord (just a little light, oh Lord)
Want to stand it on up
Stand it on up, oh Lord (stand it on up, oh Lord)
Stand on up, Lord
Want to walk it on down
Gonna shed a little light, oh Lord (shed a little light, oh Lord)
Shed a little light, Lord”.

Thank you for those who are shining lights and holding linked arms for the riptides. Wishing you peace. On to year #4.

~Mug Up Mermaid

2 thoughts on “Candle #3

  1. Dear Julie Ann, THANK you for letting us join in your celebration! (I love the ‘connection’) ❤ Ruth

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10


  2. You are a force …
    And celebrate we will💋
    The survivor guilt is debilitating as is so much more on this rollercoaster.
    Love you and see you soon xoxo


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