I cannot even begin to describe the absolute void that lives within me because of you. I have been physically rid of you for almost six years now, and yet somehow you still manage to wreak havoc on my soul. I have lost countless hours of sleep over you because my thoughts won’t stop hammering away in my head. You caused me to fall into emotional numbness at my most vulnerable times. I know for certain the things you have taken from me, but what makes me feel worse is the things I do not know. Who would I have been if you never paid me a visit? What would I have achieved during the time we ultimately spent together? Where would I be right now?
Peace of mind is something I will never know again—if I ever knew it at all. I was only 19 when you took residence in my body; I am 25 now, and most days it feels like nothing has changed. Cancer free does not really mean cancer free. Everywhere I look, it is through your lens. When I meet people, I think, “They will never know me as well as you do.” You took the best parts of me, the parts I have fought so hard to get back, only to realize they are never coming back. I am not rebuilding what was once there. I have completely started over on a foundation whose solidity I have never been sure of. People will point out how far I have come, but you have warped my sense of time, too. At 19, I am sure six years probably would have felt like an eternity. But you make it feel like it was just yesterday.
For someone who so desperately wants to be seen, you make me want to hide amongst the darkest of shadows. You are the sun who burns so hot and bright, and I am cast beneath you. Without you, I am a vast nothingness. I am the void, and I have become lost in a me I never got to know. People will say I have gained a perspective most will never have. I ask them, at what cost? At the cost of me? At the cost of my peace, my love, my light, my happiness? As poet John Lyly wrote, “The rules of fair play do not apply in love and war.” I think the same could be said for you.
This article was in the 2022 Dear Cancer issue of Elephants and Tea Magazine! Click here to read our magazine issues.
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