Monday, July 20, 2015

Mental Health Monday - On Pain

Welcome to Mental Health Monday! This link up is hosted every 1st and 3rd Monday as an opportunity to share experiences with mental illness to let others know they are not alone. 

I had half of a post written for today's Mental Health Monday, but I had to change gears because of something that happened yesterday.

Yesterday at 8 in the morning, a bright, shining soul left this Earth to be with her Savior. Ashleigh, whom I've mentioned a few times, passed away yesterday morning following a valiant fight against a horrible, terrible form of breast cancer. I never had the privilege of meeting Ashleigh; I came to know of her story through a dear friend of mine (who is also battling cancer) who is friends with her.

Ashleigh was 30 years old and left behind a husband and 2 young children, so young that they will most likely have no memory of their mother.

I can't even imagine.

How do you even begin to deal with that? How do you tell your 2-year-old son that his mommy's not coming home? That he will never see her again? How do you comfort a 1-year-old who wakes in the middle of the night, desperate for his mama?

While I realize that you just get through it, it doesn't stop these thoughts from invading my head at night. It doesn't stop me from imagining myself in Ashleigh's place, thinking about how I might deal with the knowledge that I will almost definitely not live to see my children grow another year.

Ashleigh's story has stuck with me for so many reasons. We are the same age, with young children, and she is a friend of my friend, whose own cancer has proven difficult to treat.

Sometimes these thoughts, fears, invade my head, trying to convince me that I have no right to feel pain--anything that I am going through is nothing in comparison to what Ashleigh and her family, and my friend and her family, have gone through this past year. My pain is nothing compared to what Ash's husband, Brad, is going through now with the loss of his wife, left to raise 2 young children on his own.

But here's thing--pain is pain. Just because there are young mothers dying of cancer, children starving, fathers being killed on the battlefield elsewhere in the world--it doesn't diminish my pain. It doesn't diminish the pain I feel about my broken family, friends that I miss, or wishing that we had just a little more breathing room in our budget.

Pain is subjective, and nobody--nobody--can tell you whether your pain is or isn't worthy of being felt. Feel it, let it in, let it wash over you like the ocean's waves... then let it go. And keep moving forward. Keep going, don't stop, and you will make it through.

Ashleigh's faith remained strong until the very end. She never stopped believing, never stopped fighting, and she never gave up hope. Take a moment to read a bit of her blog, My Journey with Inflammatory Breast Cancer, and say a prayer or send warm thoughts for her husband and boys for the the coming days/weeks/months/years.


  1. Aww. I'm so sorry to read this. My thoughts are with her family.

  2. This touches me where it matters most! I'm 30 so this could easily be me, but it was my own mother who battled Brest cancer recently. Thankfully she won the fight and I'll never forget what a blessing that is. My prayers are with her family!!!

  3. I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. You are right on, pain is pain is pain

  4. I'm so sorry to hear that. This weekend I was attempting to explain the idea of death to Oliver (came up in a movie we were watching) and my voice kept breaking just imagining what it would be like for him, for us to deal with that. Prayers for your friend and her family!

  5. This is so true… our feelings are not invalid because others experience better or worse. We have to own our feelings and experiences and embrace them. That is the only way we can be true to ourselves.

  6. It is always sad to lose someone to cancer, especially a young parent. My prayers are with her family. But I agree - pain is pain, we need to validate and support people in what is painful to them.

  7. HI Christina. Hope you are having a good vacation. I am really sad to hear about Ashleigh. And you are right - regardless of what else is going on for whomever else - one's own pain and sorrow is valid. Thank you for always being so balanced in your views!

  8. Your experience is your own and isn't diminished or enhanced by what other people are going through - very healthy way of looking at things, so good for you.

  9. Hugs, thank you for sharing.


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