Last month, I featured Carl Honeysett, an inspiring young man, who, after overcoming various hardships, decided to spend his time volunteering around the world and encouraging others to join his mission.
A few nights ago, when I asked readers to submit their stories to me for the chance to be featured as the new “Reader of the Month” for September, I never expected to receive so many inspirational stories; for this reason, I couldn’t pick just one reader. September is typically associated with back to school and education, so I thought, what better month to feature multiple readers and learn about all of their inspiring stories? This month, I will feature two inspiring readers per week.
Kicking off this month’s “Reader(s) of the Month” is Susan Seymour; she is certainly inspirational and her article provides a message filled with hope and kindness. You can check out her blog here.
Reader of the Month #1
A Time to Heal
By: Susan Seymour
My life hasn’t always been easy. My earliest memory was when I was about 5. My mother was in the hospital due to a miscarriage. My father came to visit her and brought me with him, but left me in the car by myself. If my dad did that today he would have gotten arrested, but ahh well different times back then and he had a lot on his mind.
I remember standing outside of the station wagon with the door open and this young couple came over and helped me. I don’t remember the rest other than what my mother told me and I ended up in her hospital room. Apparently, children weren’t allowed in at the time and my father just didn’t plan this trip out well. The day ended on a fairly happy note; my dad stopped at a convenience store, to get some snacks. I fell asleep in the back of the station wagon and woke up with a lollipop in my hair. Don’t you hate when that happens? Ahh, once again I was left. Hmm, I see a pattern here, but at least the car was in the driveway this time.
My father is no longer with us; he passed away May 29th 2004, so I guess this article will be dedicated to my dad. My dad was a writer and editor for the Wall Street Journal and he published his own small town newspaper, so I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree where my writing ability comes from. I always brag about him. He didn’t graduate college due to the passing of his mother, but I guess it was a different time back then. Unfortunately, today my father probably wouldn’t have gotten that same job without a degree. Go Dad!
Fast forward to November 15th, 2012, the day my life was forever changed. This was the day I was diagnosed with stage 2b breast cancer. This has been an emotional roller coaster to say the least. I went through all the stages of grief: denial, depression, anger, and acceptance. Thankfully, I am in the acceptance stage, but it took some time, soul searching, studying with spiritual teachers, talking to other survivors, and good old fashion crying out to God in prayer; I chose not to have the suggested mastectomy with reconstruction, chemo, etc, etc. My boyfriend was also helpful at this time. I highly recommend bringing someone with you to these appointments to have a second set of ears to take in all the information you will receive.
Cancer has taught me many things:
1. I am much stronger than I ever thought I was.
2. Even at your darkest hour, there’s always hope.
3. The Internet can be a valuable tool for support; I have made several connections with people that I may have never met otherwise.
4. Getting back to basics: Being kind to others, being grateful — this one is a big one —finding joy in each day, appreciating those in your life because none of us are promised a tomorrow.
I have also made many other changes. I sold my car, haven’t been without a car since I was 17. Ahh well, that’s sorta a blessing in disguise. I needed a break from car ownership, from dealing with the expense of repairs and cost of car insurance. Luckily, my boyfriend has a car and we have been managing. Also, I gave up my small pet sitting service of 18 years. I loved working with the animals and it was fun meeting all the great people I had the opportunity to work with over the years. Actually, one of my pet sitting clients, who is a doctor, helped me to get diagnosed. But, it became too much for me to continue the pet sitting with my unknown future, so I gave some of my current clients to a local woman I had met. She had lost her job, and well, my misfortune was her gain. Another blessing in disguise. This one was spirit led, I believe. I met her the year before; I was coming home from a pet-sitting job and she was walking dogs on my street. My boyfriend mentioned that he thought she was a pet sitter and that I should talk to her. I tend to be shy approaching people, but I got up the courage, and exchanged emails. I remember her being excited hoping I had work for her and little did I know a year later, I would.
I found reading and watching spiritual teachers on YouTube helped me a great deal: Panache Desai, Doreen Virtue, Bernie Seigel, and many others became faithful companions on my journey to healing. Also, rediscovering those things that bring me joy: Crafting, baking, cooking, listening to music, being around water, such as a lake or river, spending time with my animals, spending time with friends, getting back into writing, and, add chocolate because chocolate makes it all better!!
So the lessons I have learned in the last year are lessons we all can remember: Life is beautiful. Angels come in all different shapes and sizes. Some have fur. Chocolate makes it all better; that statement just needs to be repeated often. Bring as much joy into your life on daily basis. Life is about giving and receiving; sometimes, there is more joy in giving, something as simple as smiling at children, holding a door open for someone at the convenience store, feeding the birds.
We only get one life. How will you use it?