Looking Out For The Light

A cancer survivor describes the dark days we are facing right now and expresses a ray of hope for all.

I have just passed my seventh decade. I can honestly say that I never remember being so affected by what is going on in the world and feeling this hopeless. Between a contentious election, troubled econonmy and the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has hard to see through the darkness in our times.

However, like many of us, I go every week to the lab and then to the hospital for treatments. I feel fearful how safe this is, plus experiencing the anxiety of perusing for my results to see what treatments will be given. All of us who are immune-compromised and cancer survivors find this extra stress in our lives.

In climates like mine, we are forced indoors over the dark winter months, and miss being outside safely distanced from our friends. One of my neighbors texted me she did not realize what a void this would be for her and missing our chats every evening watching my service dog enjoying the sunshine.

Worst of all is the constant, ever-present, dark, hovering cloud of a worldwide pandemic smothering us and presenting fear. This virus is ever pervasive, ever-present, and insidious and like a slithering monster, we never know when it will hit one of us or friends and family. One news broadcast mentioned that we have gone from hearing about COVID-19 to knowing people personally who have it. Every day we hear of thousands of more deaths and as our governor reminds us, these are people, not statistics.

We are all afraid of this horrible, seeping, sludge affecting all of us. I cannot imagine the pain of losing a loved one from COVID-19, and my heart just aches for the people in the nursing homes and residential facilities, and the staff and their families.

All of us are sad because we cannot be with loved ones over the Hanukah, Kwanza, Christmas and New Year holidays. This is the first time I am unable to make travel plans to be with my beloved family.

These are dark days indeed. I compare it to a terrible depression from my past like a blanket covering me. After counseling, I lifted up one corner, finally saw a glimmer of light, and began to heal.

I resort to my addiction during dark times of watching cheesy Hallmark holiday movies. My friends tease me about the six plots, which always have a woman in a large city going to a small town and falling in love to stay. There is usually a dog too! But right now I crave happy endings. Last weekend I watched the “Christmas Train” and heard a wonderful quote.

“Hope begins when you stand in the dark looking out towards the light.” This line is credited to the author Tracie Miles.

I thought YES there is hope. Vaccines against this monster are slowly arriving, we may have to celebrate our holidays like Christmas in the summer, winter days do not last forever, and cures are developed daily for cancer.

We cannot allow ourselves to go into the depths of deep despair like being in a quagmire of quicksand and we never get out. Instead, we need to stand on the shore, look for the light, and know better days are ahead.