25 November 2015

The LIfe I Almost Didn't Have

I am thankful for the life I almost didn't have.
I don't say much about it, I never have, I sort of let folks think that I just sailed through it, I have at times almost convinced myself of that too. 
That having colon cancer within a year after going through a divorce with young children is a breeze.
I will tell you this, it is not.
                                                     

There were many things that got me through that year of surgery and chemotherapy.
Holding onto my dreams, longing for serenity, good friends.
Thank you Laura and Alice, my Mom, and my children, oh yes, those children of mine.
The smiles, the golden locks, the beauty and longing to spend time with them and watch them grow, and my Faith.


I have tried on all sorts of hats to fit the part. 
I have been strong, I have been weak, I have been scared and I have been brave. 
I have even laughed at the notion of death.
Because I had my family and God.



I have felt as though I walked alone even when I have been 
engulfed with love. 
Who fights those battles of the mind, at night, alone, in a 
bed when nausea engulfs your entire being.
Thoughts begin to rage like a fire that cannot be stopped.



When children need to go to dances, music lessons and friends must spend the night.
While you hang your head over that porcelain friend, and somewhere in the heavens stars twinkle in the night.



I have pretended it was all fine, when it wasn't, and finally now in the waning years of my life, it seems fitting to share the hurt, anger and frightening moments of those 365 days of that year.
Was there any way that I could have shared my story then. With children so young, fragile and naive. 
Could I really have told my Mother the fear I felt, when she had already lost one child?



Instead I swallowed it all away in one big gulp in my hospital room and vowed to never share the burden of my life, or the one I almost didn't have. 
Maybe I was too afraid, instead of being brave.

But today on this day, the day before Thanksgiving nearly 20 years after my sealed fate.
I can tell you and myself, how thankful I am for the Life I almost didn't have.

Sending love and wishes for you to have a very Blessed
Thanksgiving Day.
xoxo

Jemma@athomewithjemma
Jemma@athomewithjemma

Jemma's home is a quiet spot nestled among the trees. You might find me writing, reading, or puttering in my Greenhouse, tweaking a recipe, crafting a wreath or loving on my grands. Always living with a grateful heart.

58 comments:

  1. You've seen the ugliest and most challenging part of surviving a major illness and obviously you've taken a positive roll afterwards. So thankful you are still with us. You truly are a sweet person and I'm so glad for you that you found your new husband and are living a happy life. Enjoy your Thanksgiving Day! XO, Liz

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We all have these unexpected journeys, and bad things really do happen. I suppose when it is all said and done living with abundant gratitude and Faith makes most things bearable.
      I thank you for your friendship and I am wishing you a Blessed Thanksgiving!xo

      Delete
  2. What a powerful testimony you have Jemma! I'm so glad you made it through to the beautiful life you have now. Have a very blessed and happy Thanksgiving!

    Hugs,
    Jan ♥

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jan,
      It is true, I do have a testimony to the power of prayer and God's love!
      Happy Thanksgiving to you.
      xo

      Delete
  3. Beautifully written. You are an amazing mom and strong woman. Love you!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am in tears. We must talk, and soon. You have uplifted me today dearest soul.

    I believe you shared a very thin slice of this incident with me a while back, but I never knew exactly what was surrounding the circumstance. It takes time to open up about these matters....So much to discuss, so much to share. Much love to you, and hope to speak soon again....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear One,
      I have come to realize that a good life is when one can smile often, laugh, dream and realize how many blessings they truly have.

      Delete
  5. Hello Jemma, beautiful post. You are a strong woman! An inspirational to others that may go through the same challenge. I am so happy you are here, sharing your wonderful post. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Eileen,
      My Faith, family, friends and living with gratitude, kept the scenery of my life in perspective so that I was able to see the beautiful colors around me.
      Happy Thanksgiving to you!

      Delete
  6. Dear Jemma,
    sending love you too and wishes for you to have a very Blessed Thanksgiving Day.
    xoxo ... Dorothea :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Dorothea!
      Sending love to you too,
      xoxo

      Delete
  7. Blessings this Thanksgiving. You are so very brave.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Miss Merry,
      My Faith, God and nurturing support sustained me through that year and empowered me with an inner strength, I did not know I had.

      Delete
  8. Dearest Jemma-
    What a beautiful post of love, faith, and hope.
    I believe that strength lives within the fear, doubts, and worry.
    You are living proof!

    Have a blessed Thanksgiving!
    You are a blessing to all of us.

    Laura

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Laura,
      Thank you for these very tender words, which are so uplifting.
      I completely agree with you. In our darkest hours, Faith is the true grit that sustains us all.
      Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

      Delete
  9. Dear Jemma, what a moving and courageous story you share for Thanksgiving. God had a plan for your life and he knew you could handle it with grace and dignity. Now you share your walk with others giving hope to someone reading, there is beauty at the end of an ugly road. Thank God for your good health today and the blessing you are to so many. I am thankful to have met you this year and always grateful for God's gift of friendship.
    Have a special and very blessed Thanksgiving! xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Friend,
      I have always hesitated to share my journey, but I had such an overwhelming feeling that I needed to write this. I do hope that those who read my story will know that though the journey may at times feel desolate, that there is always hope.
      The kindness which you extend to us all is a universal language and I appreciate your friendship.
      Happy Thanksgiving,
      xo
      Jemma

      Delete
  10. You are truly blessed and I believe, after reading your story, that you are just where you are supposed to be in life now. That trial has made you the wonderful, compassionate and sweet woman that you are. Happy Thanksgiving!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ann Marie
      I am blessed and I truly know in my heart that by being thankful for what we have, we end up having more. It may not appear so outwardly to the world, but the spirit always knows. Thank you for your friendship, kindness and inspiration in my life.
      Happy Thanksgiving to YOU!

      Delete
  11. Oh Jemma. What a truly beautiful post. I had no idea you went through all of that. Guess the Lord was walking with you for sure. So glad you had your family and faith. That's what it's all about, isn't it? God bless you, dear Jemma. And may your Thanksgiving continue to be filled with love. Susan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Susan,
      Oh yes, the Lord was walking with me and I suppose He was actually carrying me.
      As I reread what I had written I thought of the poem Footprints In The Sand.
      Wishing you and yours a Blessed Thanksgiving.

      Delete
  12. Hi Jemma, This post is beautifully written, as always, and inspirational. By sharing your personal journey, you may give strength to someone who is currently going through a similar event. Thanks for always teaching us to look beyond and appreciate ourselves and our loved ones. Have a very Happy Thanksgiving! Joan-My Cookie Clinic

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Joan,
      Had the words not flowed so easily, I think I might not have written this, but they poured out of me. I too hope that some soul who is walking this journey finds comfort in knowing they are not alone.
      Thank you for your caring words and friendship.
      Happy Thanksgiving,
      Jemma

      Delete
  13. It's hard to imagine, or even care, that when we are in our darkest time there is a reason. I believe your ordeal led you to become the inspirational person that you are. To share your story with the world and give strength and faith to those who need it most.

    (I believe it is no coincidence your cancer came forth shortly after your divorce. Stress is cancer's best friend.)

    xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Doreen,
      I hope my personal journey comforts and consoles those who are on a similiar journey. I am also here if they need to reach out.
      I am certain that the events leading to the divorce and then the divorce itself, carried a powerful punch on my health.
      Thank you for your friendship and kindness.
      Jemma

      Delete
  14. Gosh I am glad you shared your story - and quit carrying it inside. Twenty years. Wow and when your kids were so young. I didn't realize that you were so young. Wish I was around to listen! I am grateful and thankful you are here now too! You have been a blessing to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was 40 years old, it seemed old at the time! I knew two things about how I was going to deal with the hand that I had been given.
      One, was God and the other was that I was going to love like there was no tomorrow.
      Thank you for being you!

      Delete
  15. Jemma I always go back to the quote from Christopher Robin to Winnie the Pooh. "Promise me you'll always remember that you're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think." My unexpected life altering unexpected health journey occurred in 1984 ... Faith guides you. Jemma thank you for sharing your story, it takes courage. I have found that much laughter in life is the best medicine.
    Happy Thanksgiving wishes to you and your family.
    xoxo,
    Vera

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes Vera you do understand. There are journeys that take us to the very edge of life itself.
      I am sorry to hear that you too have suffered health issues.
      It seems that as of now you have found the courage and Faith to manage and thrive, and I am thankful to know this.
      Happy Thanksgiving,
      Jemma

      Delete
  16. You remind me a lot of my sister, Jemma. She too had colon cancer and suffered through it with such strength..the chemo, the surgeries, the complications...the reoccurrence. She was a pillar for the rest of the family and her children. I know that she must carry a burden of many dark nights inside, as well. Thank you for sharing your story and I wish you the most wonderful Thanksgiving.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kim,
      Thank you for sharing this story of your sister. It is very unusual for a younger woman to be stricken with colon cancer. Typically it is a cancer of older adults.
      Please let your sister know, that there is another woman, who knows what she has coped with and that I am thinking of her too.
      Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving,
      Jemma

      Delete
  17. Your testimony of your faith and hope is such an encouragement to so many of us. I have been so blessed to have met you on line and I treasure our friendship so much. It takes a lot of courage to not only have gone through that difficult year but to share it with us now. You are a shining star. I love you sweet friend....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nancy,
      I was compelled to share my journey and my Faith.
      I have been blessed by you, your photos and soft, caring words.
      I love you dear one.

      Delete
  18. Dear Jemma, I think it's great you have shared this burden with your fellow readers. There is something about baring your soul and lifting the heavy burden health issues have taken on our bodies. It shows you a very strong and courageous woman who has overcome that terrible "C" word. Thank you for sharing. I am so glad to have met you and I am truly thankful you are living your life the way it is suppose to be. I thoroughly understand the pain and suffering you have been through, because I have gone through it three times. Have a bountiful Thanksgiving with your loved ones. xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Linda,
      Thank you for reaching out to me and being such a steadfast and supportive friend.
      My heart overflows with care and friendship for you.
      You have and are so very brave to face the demons of cancer, three times-what a courageous, blessed and beautiful woman you are, my dear.
      Happy Thanksgiving,
      Jemma

      Delete
  19. No need for thanks -now or ever. I only wish I could've carried more of your load for you. I teared up thinking of those dark days. I'm so thankful your health was restored & you've had so many good years since then. I cherish you & our sister-ship! I am always here to help you fight all the battles-big & small. Happy Thanksgiving sweet friend. Love, Laura

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dearest Laura,

      Your friendship means the world to me, and I was more than in a muddle at this time of my life.
      You were an anchor, who loved me and my children. I thank you for being such a disciple of Faith and goodness and never ever wavering.
      Blessings and Love always and always~

      Delete
    2. Love you always & always too!

      Delete
  20. You have been very brave to share your long-kept story Jemma. I honestly feel that if you felt such inspiration to write about it, there must be someone who is going to benefit from the telling. It can't have been easy to keep up with young children on your own when you must have been so uncertain of the outcome. Your trust in your faith and your family has brought you through it and made you stronger. You are a beautiful woman inside and out, and I am so happy that you were given a new lease on life and have found great happiness in a new marriage. Lots of love to you,
    Wendy

    ReplyDelete
  21. Oh my Dear, we never know what is or has been going on, in other's lives.

    I am so happy that you are secure and happy and able to say these things. So very happy for you.

    you deserve all the joy that life is now bringing you.

    Love and gentle hugs,
    Tessa

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thank you for sharing your story, dear Jemma. It was beautiful in so many ways. You are one of the dearest women I know in blogland, and I am so thankful at this time of Thanksgiving to have met such a remarkable person. You shine your light even in the darkest of times, and I want to tell you that you are an inspiration to so many women. I am honored to know you, Jemma.

    love you, sweet sister of mine.

    ~Sheri

    ReplyDelete
  23. We all have a story and yours is a beautiful one. As much as we wish that life didn't give us pain, fear, anger, and loss, they hone us into the image of God. You my dear, are a beautiful image of love, gratitude and grace. Thank you for sharing a piece of your journey. We can all learn from it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Donna,
      It is very true, we all have lives that are garnished with fear, hurt and anger, and just as you mention it is these things that mold us into the people that we are meant to be.
      We can always give thanks to God for placing people in our lives who nurture us in our journey.

      Delete
  24. Dearest Jemma,

    Your elegance and eloquence are never a surprise, simply a gift one can receive whenever they read your graceful words, and today's are a true example of a person who has so courageously fought against some terrible, life threatening predicaments and managed to conquer them with sensitivity and consideration for others. Your words of thanks today are so very inspiring to me, and I thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings with us, on this special day, when appreciation for all that we are, and are blessed to have, is introspectively felt.

    Wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving.

    Hugs,
    Poppy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Poppy,
      Our journeys are all different and yet the same, we all suffer in this life and ultimately our suffering leads us to greater personal growth. It seems that just as we reach the top of the mountain and heave a sigh of relief that we have made it, yet another challenge presents itself. When I begin to take life for granted, I remind myself of where I came from and that always snaps me back into shape.

      Delete
  25. I am glad you shared your personal story with us, Jemma. I had no idea that you battled colon cancer, especially within a year of going through a divorce. We just never know what "real" stories are behind pretty blogs and photos, do we? Thank you for being brave enough to share some of your story with us. Hugs and blessings to you, my dear friend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Melanie,
      Oh yes, behind the pink, the sparkle, the smiles there is usually another story to be told.
      I hope that those who are suffering will find some comfort in knowing that they are not alone and that life does get better.

      Delete
  26. Bless your heart. I will agree with Melanie and I've posted about it before...we all have lives and hearts behind the blogs and we just never know the strength and perseverance that our friends have.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Jemma, this is so beautifully written, so deep from the heart and soul. Your journey was a tough one and a powerful one and I'm so glad you had the support of family and dear friends to get you through the terrible year and beautiful spirit to move on and create a wonderful life after such a tough time. Grateful for the life, aren't we? And when we are, making the most of every single day as you do, finding beauty and cheer, seems almost like a must. When I wrote my current post, I was thinking on the same lines. Being grateful every day. Your story is filled with what I define as the true definition of grace. I'm grateful you have shared it. To do so is both courageous and freeing. Happy Thanksgiving -- every day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jeanie,
      Through it all, I would say that your words resonate a very big truth. Live a big life that is thankful, grateful, joyful, responsive, and appreciative. No matter how "bad," our lives are, there is always something to be thankful for and when one begins to truly "see," life as a gift, the journey becomes that much sweeter.

      Delete
  28. I'm very grateful that you shared such a difficult time in your life ~ I know it will be inspirational for many! You are so strong in so many ways. Things happen in all our lives and I don't know how those without God and faith make it. I've been a volunteer with Chemo Angels since I retired in '03. I know how valuable it is to share your battle and encourage others to be strong and have faith, to let them know that yes, it's a fight but one you can win! I'm so glad you did ~ :)

    xo
    Pat

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pat,
      I hope that my journey will be uplift other souls who are going through difficult times, either physically, emotionally or mentally. I hope they know they are not alone and when their days seem so dark and dreary. Some days are just bad days, and one has to hang on tight and get through them, knowing that this too will pass.

      Delete
  29. I am just getting around to reading some posts from last week now and this just melted my heart - you are such a brave woman and I'm so glad you have the life you have now. You deserve every second of happiness in your life now. xoxoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am so glad you stopped by and left such kind and caring words. You are a dear friend.

      Delete
  30. Oh my goodness, how did I miss this post? I know you've shared some of this with me, and for that I am so grateful; but I didn't realize you had never shared it on your blog. I'm so glad you did....you are a hero and a beacon of hope for others who are so desperately ill and cannot see that there just might be a light at the end of that dark, dark tunnel. You are my hero and the one I focus on when I'm feeling a little "sniffly," because I know you have been through so much worse, survived and live your life spreading love and joy all around you. I'm so very glad that we connected, because I truly treasure your friendship, Jemma.

    Warm hugs,
    Carol

    ReplyDelete
  31. Jemma, we have been brought together by Brenda as co-writers. I am so sorry to learn of your health burden...and hope that all is well now! Some things stay with us so long....the grip is still on us. Best wishes for joy in your life! Sheila

    ReplyDelete

Thank you so much for visiting me, I always enjoy hearing from you, your comments make my day!

Beautiful Blogs