My Tribe

ta ta

At the end of a hard day’s work (and by the way, my REAL work begins when my paid job ends), after I cook, clean, do homework, pack the lunch bags, do a load of laundry, and get my youngest off to bed, there is nothing I enjoy more than pouring myself a glass of wine and checking out the latest Scientific Journals.  By “Scientific Journals”, of course, I mean Facebook.

While some people are very private and selective about their Facebook endeavors, I admit to being quite open about mine.  In fact, in my personal opinion, if you are the type to get upset if someone with whom you are not intimately acquainted “likes” or (God forbid) comments on a post you made, maybe you need to look for another form of social media.  I think they should invent a new form for those people who really value their privacy.  They couldn’t call it “Facebook” of course, as the “face” is the most exposed part of the body. I think “Butt-book” would be a more appropriate name, as that is a part of the anatomy that is private and we normally only expose to our nearest and dearest, but I digress……

I don’t know how I got off on that tangent, but the point I am trying to make is this: I am not overly cautious or selective when it comes to accepting friend requests on Facebook.  I just assume, rightly or wrongly, that those who want to add me either:

  1.  Know me and want to keep in touch
  2. Are fans of my blog/book
  3. Are trying to add to the numbers on their own Facebook page or
  4. Are just plain nosey

I am fine either way.  I may be naïve in thinking that these Facebookers are not insane criminals who are out to harm me and my family in some way.  However, so far I have been right in judging them as safe approximately 100% of the time.

In recent weeks I added three new friends to my Facebook repertoire.  One of these ladies I had met briefly at a cancer survivors convention.  The other two I have never met.    All three of these are young mothers who have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer (one with a reoccurrence).

I cannot begin to explain to you the terror that comes with a cancer diagnosis.  The fear of dying an untimely and painful death usually takes the forefront of these fears.  Then, in many cases, there is the extreme sorrow that comes when thinking of your children and how they will survive without their mother.  What lasting psychological damage will be done to your beautiful babies if their mom is taken in her prime?  Will you ever see them graduate from high school?  Get married? Or hold their own babies?   Breast cancer also generally brings with it unsightly physical changes as well.  While “creeping” my three new Facebook friend’s photos, I was struck by their physical beauty.  Judging by their clothes, make-up and impeccable hair, it is obvious that they take pride in their appearance.  I imagine that these  women have been haunted by thoughts of losing their breasts and their beautiful hair, while gaining the puffy “moon face” features brought on by chemotherapy.

I am sure that my new facebook friends are experiencing all of these fears, plus feelings of anger, depression, hopelessness, and utter devestation.  Yet you won’t find them boo-hooing, “poor me” on Facebook!  To read their posts, you will find only strength, courage and determination.  As one said, “I’m ready to fight like a girl!”; and another: “This will not define me.”  THAT, my friends, is a Survivor’s Attitude!

These women are part of my “tribe”, a secret sisterhood that nobody chooses to be a part of, yet when you join you instantly become bonded with your “pink sorority.”  That’s why these women felt safe in reaching out to me.  Having been there, I am able to offer to them encouragement and hope from a place of knowing.

Last night, I was reading a book called Divine Secrets of the Ta-Ta Sisterhood, by Joanna Chapman. (A great read which I would recommend, especially to those just starting treatment.) I came across a letter that she had written to her “sisters”, i.e those currently fighting cancer.  There is a part of this letter that really resonated with me, and I would like to share it with you, my new Facebook friends, as you face your battle:

I wish I could wrap you up in a fuzzy blanket of your favorite color-which I am guessing is probably not pink.  I’d sit you down beside a cozy fire and bring you hot chai tea and chocolate croissants.  Fill your book-shelves with new releases from your favorite authors and your iPod with soothing music.  Invite your closest friends over-the ones who could make you laugh, but would also let you curse and cry. 

When you were tired, I’d help you to a comfy bedroom overlooking the ocean, where the sounds of the waves could lull you to sleep.  I’d scatter scented candles and framed photos of your favorite memories on the dresser and nightstand.  I’d help you write letters to your loved ones.  I’d hold your hand whenever you were scared until you no longer needed me.

Thinking of you, wishing you fortitude, comfort and peace.

Love, Florence

7 thoughts on “My Tribe

  1. This is one of the best post you have made Flo. Fully agree that some people misunderstand Facebook’s intent. And your closing words on helping a friend through a difficult time is touching and true. You are loved by many, dear woman…

    Signature Line – March 2013

    Linked In Signature “The greatest compliment is your referral.”

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