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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Support Group -- The Last Meeting

The last meeting. I thought everyone would be there.

But, this is a cancer support group.

E, P, Tz, and Y all could not make it because they were not feeling well.

There is a risk in a group like ours.

We all have metastasis. We are all living with cancer. And we are all battling cancer, in our own private wars.

As part of this group, we bear witness to each others' battles. We witness the wins. We witness the losses.

We all know, in the deepest recesses of our hearts, that we will face similar battles.

We all know, that eventually, barring a miracle, we will lose the war.

We lock these thoughts away.

We don't think about the final battles.

We live our lives and pretend we do not have cancer.

In our support group, we do not pretend. We talk about living with cancer, how it affects us, our families, our friends. We talk about the rollercoaster of ups and downs. We talk about our fears.

We laugh a lot. Sometimes we cry.

In our support group, some women are having a harder time than others. Some women are not doing so well.

At our last meeting, one women questioned: "is this good for us?"

I understand the question.

We try so hard to live as if our lives are "normal." Does it help us to expose ourselves to other women, whose situation may be worse than our own, and, therefore, force us to confront a future that we wish to ignore?

It is complicated. It is a package deal.

Clearly, we do think it is worthwhile, because we keep coming back.

Who else can understand what it is like to be living with cancer?

What is the alternative?

To handle this alone?

It is too much. It is too hard.

Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.

With love and optimism,


Juggling Frogs said...

RivkA, I'm so glad this group exists for you, and for the other women.

You give each other something that others who aren't in this parsha just can't. You're vetrans and co-combatants in those 'private wars'.

May you all come back to every meeting.

RivkA with a capital A said...

juggling frogs -- thanks

Batya said...

just be healthy

A Living Nadneyda said...

I never know if it's "good for" the kids that I work with, bringing up the difficulties with them, in a straightforward way. The kids let me know what's good for them, basically, and often it's indirect -- play, drawing, movement. The teenagers almost always appreciate the straightforward approach, since it gives them permission to talk out loud about all the things rushing around in their heads, and about all the sleepless nights.

Strength, health, love, and all the positive thoughts that can help... to you and all the women in your group.


RivkA with a capital A said...

muse -- thanks.

ALN -- I prefer the direct approach. I preferred it as a kid/teen, and I prefer it now.

That said, the direct approach doesn't work with everyone.

Once, one of my kids had a serious problem at school. My child could not find the words to express/explain what was going on. Then I suggested the child drew a picture.

The picture was so telling! Not only did it provide the catalyst for a profound discussion with my child, but I was able to show the picture to the teacher, who told me that the picture was an accurate representation of the situation.

I was so proud of my child's ability to express in art, that which could not be expressed in words.

A Living Nadneyda said...

I prefer the direct approach. I preferred it as a kid/teen, and I prefer it now.

Well.... we knew that. And we wouldn't have it any other way!

One of the things that attracted me to art therapy was that "magic" that happens when a person, especially a kid, finds such a personal, and direct, mode of expression through art.

So I take it back -- I don't actually consider drawing to be indirect. In many ways, it's actually extremely direct, especially in terms of the visual impact on both the artist-creator and the viewer. Furthermore, the very physicality of movement required to create a work of art also has a direct impact on the creator, since s/he experiences the act of creating directly, on a somatic level.

RivkA with a capital A said...

ALN -- I have always been curious about art therapy. I can see how it helps in a situation like I described above. But how does it help when the drawings are abstract, or not directly connected to an event or situation?

(Maybe we should continue this off list. I might even call you about it.)

A Living Nadneyda said...

Of course you should feel free to call me!

If there's a more general interest in the subject, maybe I should post something.

Of course, as Everyone Needs Therapy reminds us, a personal answer is always better. That said, there are many fascinating, general aspects of the therapeutic processes that occur in art therapy, regardless of the artist-patient's style or modality.

Waiting to hear from you.