I'm glad New Year's Day is behind us. I hate New Year.
I know bad stuff can happen at any time, but for me it always seems to happen around then. Fact is, I didn't even do New Year this time. In fact, I'm planning to skip straight through to February. So that's it for now. Bye.
You want to know why? OK, I suppose so, but this can't take long, I've got to go hide.
It started with just the usual anticlimactic feeling every year. You have such great expectations that New Year is going to be fun: parties to go to, friends to see, the exciting 10 second countdown and flowing champagne. Duh, not exactly.
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It's more like who can keep their eyes open long enough in front of the TV to give that cursory "Happy New Year" and then collapse into bed.
Then about seven years ago bad stuff starting happening. In 2004, our cat died on New Year's Eve. In 2005, just after New Year, my husband was diagnosed with cancer. In 2006, we tried to celebrate New Year with a mini-vacation and ended up spending three days, but mostly long nights, in a hotel room with two toddlers with stomach flu.
In 2007, I spent New Year throwing up after my first chemo. In 2008, my tumor marker shot up (undoubtedly leading to sleepless nights and panic) and later was confirmed as a recurrence.
In 2009, one of the girls was ill again, and in 2010 a gum infection, which turned into a tooth extraction, which turned into an excruciating dry socket, put a huge damper on the New Year.
It's hard to be inspirational when bad stuff happens. Everyone expects to hear from me: "Live, Love, Laugh" or "Every day is a new day" or even "There's always hope." But boy, when it feels like someone is constantly driving a drill into your jaw, it's hard to do anything but grump.
Is there a moral to this dampening tale? Well, I hope so, or else this column really sucks! What I realized last year is that people easily can give up hope when they're in constant pain, from cancer or any other illness.
Yes, it's great to hear stories of people who have beaten a particular disease and now climb mountains, but when you're the one who is suffering, when you're the one with the disease that can't be stabilized, it doesn't make you feel any better.
So what do you say? Maybe you don't have to say anything. Maybe you're mission is to bring joy into that person's life, which will make them forget the pain, if even for a moment. Making someone who is close to giving up hope smile or laugh or find some kind of inner peace, may be the greatest gift you could ever give.
Of course none of us want to go; of course we should all cling to hope; but sometimes hope isn't a lecture about how beautiful life can be, it's about how much we're loved today.
* Kay Kerbyson and her family live in West Richland. She is a local and national cancer advocate, an inspirational speaker and president/founder of Ovarian Cancer Together! Inc.
Kay can be contacted at Kay@ovariancancertogether.org.