Keeping My Bags Packed

***NOTE:  I send my thoughts and a special prayer to all, including my father, who were near, in the path of and/or impacted by Hurricane Hermine.***

Last week, I counted down the days until our family’s annual pre-Labor Day beach trip which is a quick two hour drive from our home.  For our family, the beach is such a fun place.  We love riding the waves, making sand sculptures and, for me, meditating and being at a place of serenity.  Somehow the sun seems brighter reflecting off of the ocean and the rays of the sun seem warmer when my feet are in the sand.  The waves washing up on shore sounds like beautiful music to me.  I packed our bags and watched the weather forecasts, tracking Hurricane Hermine.

Last Friday, the day before departure, I was still optimistic that the weather would hold up.  Although the forecast for beach day was cloudy and in the mid-70s, rain and wind and the onset of the storm were forecasted to hold off until late afternoon.  By then, we’d have spent a few hours at the beach, walked the water’s edge, meditated by the waves and gotten some sweets from our favorite candy store.

Friday night, the forecast changed with rain and the strong winds expected much earlier in the day.  I still held out some, although fading, hope.  I had filled my gas tank and had already packed the car.  I was ready for an early morning departure with little to do except get in the car and go.

I went to sleep hoping and praying that the forecast might change, as forecasts tend to do even over short periods. I was hoping the storm would lose its strength by morning.  When I awoke, the forecast was much the same as the night before.  I tried to get accurate and up to the minute information and thought I might go to the beach later in the day; still hopeful.  As I got the detailed information, it was clear that the storm was too strong and meteorologists urged beachgoers to make alternate plans.

It was evident that the weather wouldn’t be conducive for the beach any day during the long weekend.  This marked the first time in some years that we would miss Labor Day by the water.  I unpacked the car, but I left my packed bags in the corner of my office and chose not to unpack them.  I want to be ready.  The forecast for this coming weekend calls for good beach weather.  Whatever routine we planned to return to this weekend, will be changed if the weekend weather forecast remains the same.  I’m not unpacking my bags because I want to be ready to jump right into the car and make the trip this weekend.  The storm may delay me, but it won’t stop me.

I’ve had many storms in my life; cancer has been the most consistent and biggest storm including my mother’s breast cancer diagnosis, her recurrences and death from metastatic breast cancer; my aunt’s breast cancer and ovarian cancer diagnoses, her recurrences and death from metastatic ovarian cancer; my own triple negative breast cancer diagnosis when my children were four years old and 19 months old.  Throughout my life, I’ve learned that you generally won’t know when a storm will come, when it will end, and the strength and intensity of the storm.  Because I’ll never know when storms will come and go, when they will begin or end and how many storms there will be in my life, I’m leaving my bags packed, always ready and prepared for the end of the storm and always chasing the sun!

Melanie A. Nix – Triple negative breast cancer survivor.  Resilience Coach, Reconstructionist™ and Health and Wellness Advocate.  Always striving to color outside of the lines when defining my new normal.

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