Sharing My Secret

I was a bitch to my friend. It wasn’t on purpose, but I still feel bad about it.

About 9:00am on Sunday morning an unknown car pulled up in my driveway. The windows were tinted dark enough that I couldn’t see who was inside.

Living in New River there are only two reasons to see an unknown car in your driveway these days. Something being delivered or someone preaching. I wasn’t expecting any deliveries, so I immediately got suspicious.

To make matters worse this vehicle pulled all the way into my driveway and up close behind my truck. I put on my shoes to go outside and see why this person was trespassing. There was movement in the vehicle but still no one got out.

I stood at the edge of the carport straining to make out faces through the dark glass. Then the door opened, and I recognized the smile of one of my circle sisters.

Instead of being excited to see her I was immediately scared. Like a good friend, she had been reaching out to me over the last two weeks. Like a bad friend I had been noticeably short in my responses and avoiding her questions.

It didn’t matter, she wasn’t going to let that deter her. As she stepped out of the car, she was holding a gift for me and wearing a hug kit! I couldn’t help but smile.

Being an energy worker herself she immediately felt my nervous energy. She lightened the mood by telling me that she and her mom were making the rounds to drop off gifts to help cheer people up.

I was at a loss for words. Now was the time I could tell her my secret and explain why I had been unresponsive.

But I couldn’t do it. I was scared. Scared that if I spoke the words, I would lose control.

She handed me the gift and gave me a big hug. Holding me tightly she whispered in my ear, “You know I can feel your pain all the way at my house.”

I could only nod my head and try not to cry. I knew she was telling the truth.

She pulled back and looked deep into my eyes. I knew she knew. She hesitated just a moment to give me a chance to tell her, but I looked away.

In a cheery voice she rattled off the other people they were going to see and what gifts they were delivering. With another wave she was back in the car and they were pulling away.

I missed my chance.

As I walked back in the house my husband asked what had happened. I showed him the gift and he smiled. “She knows you,” he said.

That’s when I confessed to him that I hadn’t told her and how I had been avoiding her. He told me it was okay, that I had to do what was best for me.

“I feel so ashamed,” I blurted out. “This shouldn’t have happened to me.”

As soon as it came out of my mouth, I knew I had to look at it. Shame? I didn’t know that was there.

You see the thing that I couldn’t tell my friend is that I have been diagnosed with breast cancer again.

I’ve had lots of feelings about this new diagnosis, but I never saw the shame before.

When I was training to be a coach at The Cancer Journey Institute we spent a lot of time focused on emotions and how to process them. I needed every bit of it when I confronted shame in my own diagnosis.

So I took some deep breaths and just sat in the discomfort. I won’t lie, it was painful.

I would love to tell you that it solved all my problems, but it didn’t. I still have a cancer diagnosis and lots of hard decisions to make.

But more importantly…I have family and friends who love me.

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