Afterwards

Sometimes they need to see the scars. That’s what I’ve discovered. And while it’s a beautiful thing that those around us, those that love us, don’t see the scars, sometimes I really feel they need to.

Because those scars are a reminder that we’re different, aren’t they.

Not necessarily worse, but different. How could we not be? After looking death in the eye and coming through the other side, how could someone not be different?

And I’ve discovered this difference is sometimes a point of great contention. Sometimes even more. Because in seeing us as they’ve always seen us, they expect us to be the same. To feel the same. To behave the same. To respond the same. To think the same.

But we’re not, are we.

We’ve been forced to find a new version of who we are. And I’m happy to say in my case, a version I’m much happier with. But still different. Different feelings, different responses, different thinking. And I’ve discovered that can be hard for people to adapt to.

One of the greatest challenges once the treatment finished was when I realised I had to find my new normal. Because you can never go backwards, can you. While life around may have stayed the same, we are different. Inside and out. When I’m talking with people I often describe life as a dance, and when one person changes the steps, the others must follow or the dance cannot continue. Post cancer, I notice my steps are very different.

I wonder, have you noticed how your relationships have changed? It can be a challenge as old friends or family move out of your life and distance themselves. It can hurt. And there is always the grief of letting go of what went before. But then there are the other relationships that begin. New friendships. A deepening of relationships. Not taking ourselves or our lives for granted anymore. It seems that when we dance in a different way we bring different people into our lives. 

Sometimes they need to see the scars. To realise that we are different. And when they do it opens up a whole new world of possibility. Of learning a new dance together…

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