Heather explained to me below what this was all about...
"Thanks for getting back to me so quickly! The reason I have reached out to you is because of your blog! I am an 8-year survivor of mesothelioma – a rare cancer caused by asbestos exposure. When I was diagnosed, I had just given birth to my little girl and was told I had 15 months to live. After undergoing a risky surgery, which required the removal of my left lung, I beat the odds and created Lung Leavin’ Day as a way to commemorate this day that changed my life forever.
Lung Leavin’ Day is now used to encourage others to face their fears! One important thing cancer taught me is the importance of acknowledging these apprehensions that prevent us from living life to the fullest extent. Each year on Feb. 2nd friends and family gather at my house for a bonfire where we write our fears on plates and smash them into the fire."
So I started thinking about my own fears.
As a Wife... a Mother... a Daughter... a Sister... a Friend. I have an endless amounts of fear.
I fear the fragility of life.
Losing loved ones.
Losing my youth.
Losing my pursuit of my own dreams.
I love my boys with every part of my soul. They are my entire world. And there is absolutely nothing I wouldn't do for them. My biggest fear is losing them. Something happening and taking away my family. The thought of it ... just the thought breaks my heart and brings me to tears. I cannot survive without them.
The idea of losing anyone I love is unbearable. It is such a fear of mine... If I allowed myself to sit and really think of it... I would bring myself to a shaking sob.
The loss of time... this one has always been a fear of mine. Even as a child, I hated birthdays. I never wanted to be another year older... I always wanted to stay where I was. I was having so much fun at that moment... I felt like growing a year older was taking away from that. I didn't have enough time at that stage of my life and I felt robbed. I still carry this into adulthood. Don't get me wrong I understand birthdays are a gift. You are here another year. Spent another year with those you love.. making memories. However, it always goes too fast.
The ideas of me not being around forever... something bad happening... that idea has popped into my head a time or two in terrible nightmares. Would they forget me? Would they remember? Would they know how much I loved them? Did I show them today how much I love them... in case I am not here tomorrow?
This has actually worsened with Maddux. I swear I blinked and he went from taking his first steps to turning 4 years old. I feel like... it all happened within a few minutes. Time... it goes too fast. And after having a kid... it just goes a whole lot faster. You try to do so much in such little time. soak in every moment... and when you want to slow down... revel in that memory. That moment just flies right by and I am left thinking... where did all the time go?
Losing my youth. Losing my pursuant of my dreams. Losing myself.
These roll together for me.
I remember having plans when I was younger. A list of things I was going to do. I was going to travel. I was going to see the world.
Now I am blessed with this amazing family. That I would trade my life in for. However, I fear losing myself in this process. I find myself backing off from taking risks. Taking the safe way on situations... for fear of failing. I have other people depending on me... and risks are hard to take. It is hard to put yourself out there and follow a dream when you have people who need you. I fear losing myself... not following my own dreams. Taking chances. Always playing it safe. I realize each year... that in this process I am losing my youth. Those chances are getting fewer and farther between... and I realize if I don't do them now... I might not be able to ever.
I find the older I get .. the more hats I wear. Wife. Mother. Daughter. Sister. Grand-daughter. Aunt. Niece. Best friend. Friend. Co-worker. Chef. House keeper. Party Planner. Blogger. Taxi Driver. Woodworker. Dog walker. etc. etc.
Through all of this... I have fears of losing myself. Losing myself in the chaos of what life is. And even though I love all those hats... I find it hard to stay true to myself. I get lost... lost in a hectic world eating up all my time and energy.
For me... I have been working on facing my fears the past couple of years. This is something I have thought about a lot. I try and take chances... put myself out there. I put myself out there a lot through this blog.. and just hope someone is reading it. Maybe one person is following along... and it will make a difference. Make a connection. I realize that the loss of time is inevitable and rather than worrying myself with what if scenarios.. I need to seize the moment more often.
Take that vacation... rather than putting it off for next year. Take a break from house projects and spend the afternoon playing cards with grandpa. Make more plans for Maddux to play with his cousins... because watching my son with my sisters kids... and seeing that bond... is far better than anything I can even try and put into words.
Realizing that I need to take risks myself and not forget the girl who had her own dreams outside of her family. And realizing I can still be a great mom... while pursuing my own happiness. I cannot teach my son to always chase his dreams... if I am too afraid to do so myself.
It is hard to find a balance. The balance of responsibility but not waiting for that perfect moment. Life happens... and if I sit around and wait for that "perfect" opportunity... it will never come. The hardest thing in facing my fears... is having faith in it will all work out. No matter what... in the end.... I am surrounded by people who love me and support my dreams.... and that in itself is enough.
Please take some time and visit Mesothelioma.com/heather/lungl
Lung Leavin’ Day is now used to encourage others to face their fears! One important thing cancer taught me is the importance of acknowledging these apprehensions that prevent us from living life to the fullest extent. Each year on Feb 2nd, friends and family gather at my house for a bonfire where we write our fears on plates and smash them into the fire.
Please join Heather. Or at least stop over and show some support!