Friday, December 16, 2011

My Christmas Gift

I feel like I have been taken off guard by something that I couldn't really explain recently.  I have been trying to feel jolly, and "Christmasy"  but I am not.  I have been trying to get in the holiday spirit, buying gifts and planning what I am going to buy everyone and what we are going to do on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  I have been trying to be in the mood, but I just haven't been feeling it.  I thought maybe I was depressed.  I do feel like I am some days.  It usually doesn't last though.  But, this is different.  I am very excited about the idea of Christmas.  The spending time with my family and kids and for the memories that we will create.  Seeing my parents, sister and brother, nieces and nephews.  The kids all together, etc..  But I am just not into the commercial aspect of  what Christmas has become.  I am stressed because I want to make Christmas special for my kids, as usual, but I just feel like buying them gifts is not enough.  Anyone can do that. I feel like no one understands that it is so much more.  My favorite Christmas cartoon ever since I was a little girl, has always been "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."  My favorite part of it is when his heart grows bigger when he realizes that Christmas means more than gifts.  I was already given my Christmas gift early this year.  My gift this year is to BE HERE.   To celebrate another birthday.  To celebrate another Thanksgiving.  To celebrate another Christmas.  I count my blessings and every day is one to me.  Once you have the diagnosis of melanoma, the future is unknown.  I could live to be a very old lady, or it could come back and take me away from all of this.  I have been having a very hard time ever since Thanksgiving.  I felt like no one felt the way I do about the holidays.  I was very emotional about Thanksgiving.  I was crying all day, privately, because I was so happy just to be here to celebrate and to spend it with my family.  I thought they would be as thankful and as grateful as I was.  And as emotional as I was.  I was so excited to get to my parents house to help my Mom cook and see everyone, but when  I got there, it was just like another day or something.   My Mom never hardly even has a chance to sit down and talk to anyone because there is so much cooking to do and then she has to take care of everyone.  I just wish it could be simpler.  That we could just bond and appreciate each other.

My fiance will be working for Christmas Eve and Day and my kids will be with their Dad Christmas Eve and part of Christmas Day.  I will be alone and it is just sad to me.  I don't want to be alone, but it's okay.  I just wish that I didn't FEEL so alone.  Most days I feel like I am do different from everyone else.   The song "Live Like You Were Dying" comes to my mind a lot.  If we could all just live like we are dying, we would see and feel so much more.  We would appreciate and understand so much more. We wouldn't take so much for granted.  We would see things others don't.  As a photographer, I find beauty in things others just walk by. I feel like I have a better photographic eye because of melanoma.  I love nature.  Even the most gloomy day, I can find so much beauty.

I am not looking for someone to cheer me up.  I need to go through my journey with melanoma and feel all these emotions.  My whole life has changed now that I have melanoma.  I will learn to live with it, but it isn't going to happen over night.  I may be moody and crabby one minute and laughing or crying the next. I may feel the need to remind you to use sunscreen or spend hours posting awareness about melanoma.  I may feel the need to just hide from the world and not hang out or even want to interact with my friends.  I still love all of you.  I just need to be alone sometimes to sort things out.   I may be impossible to deal with, but all I really am looking for is someone to just be there.   A friend said it best today...
"It's okay to be sad. I am sad. Don't try and cheer me up. I don't want to be cheered up. Love me more when I am sad because that's when I need it the most. Hold me and let me cry. Tell me you are here for me if I need you. That's all I need. I won't be sad forever but while I am sad just try and be understanding. "
When I read this, I understood what I had been feeling was okay.  I didn't need anyone to make me feel better.  It was okay for me to feel down sometimes.  Even if I didn't understand why.   I just need my loved ones to be there for me when I need them.  To just BE THERE.  I will heal and I am still me, just a little bit different.  But, it is not different all in a bad way.  I have been given the gift of looking at life differently than most.   And it IS a gift.  The BEST gift.  One that has changed my life.  FOREVER.


  1. Hi Melissa,
    Thanks for creating a blog about your journey. I was diagnosed with MM on June 28 and can relate to the thoughts you are expressing here.

  2. Thanks for following my blog. I am always saddened to find another person affected by this awful cancer, but we are "kindred spirits" so to speak, and I am glad to know you!