While I was going through treatment for breast cancer, and especially during chemotherapy, I felt isolated at times. My senses were deadened and my body struggled to hold strong against the ravaging effects of the drugs. And then there was that stranger looking back at me in the mirror, the one trying to save her hair (and some dignity).
The feeling is one of submersion. Where you can’t really hear or see or feel like everyone else does. It felt as if life is going on “up there”- on the surface, where there is laughter and joy and exercise and all sorts of earthly pleasures reserved for the healthy folks. Where people have eyelashes, can taste their food, can get through a day without needing to get sick or rest.
Now, I have so many friends, and almost all of them were calling and cooking for us, sending gifts and books and all sorts of supportive gestures. This was such a different reality, and it was all mine. There I was. Feeling alone. Down there in the deep. Wondering, can anyone really see me down here?
One day, I came across the work of Torri Horness on her Instagram outpost of poetry, @notesontheway and grabbed the lifeline. One poem, Mountains, found a way in… a way for me to feel what was happening around me. My friends rescued me every single day I was feeling down, and this poem beautifully illustrates the journey of friendship, connected and brave and powerful.
I contacted Torri when I returned to work, and asked her if we could design a special little compass (inspired by the compass she drew on her post) to accompany this poem to support breast cancer awareness, and she happily obliged. We are so grateful to be able to offer this beautiful poem, along with the compass necklace, as a special gift with purchase for yourself, or a friend in need of this love (the poem can be framed to be kept close).
I’d like to dedicate this post to my friend Amy, who is starting her health journey soon, and to all friends on any side of a cancer journey.
Mountains, by Torri Horness
whatever anyone says or
fails to say, you are loved.
& when you are standing
alone at the edge of the earth
& it looks like no one is coming,
you will hear the roar of rattling
stones, trembling beneath the
feet of friends
who are moving mountains
to find you.
Join us to help create a world where our sisters and mothers, our daughters and friends are not at risk. We have a long way to go. We should be able to make it with each other’s help, and great organizations like the NBCF.
During the month of October, Waxing Poetic will donate a portion of all sales to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.