I had been dating a man for several years and fully expected we would spend our lives together. I was unexpectedly diagnosed with a fairly rare form of head and neck cancer and expected to, at the very least, be disfigured if not dead. The man in my life took off before I even started treatment, using a flimsy excuse. Several other friends abandoned me leaving me to cope pretty much alone and I got the treatments I needed in secret in another city because I feared losing my job.
Now I have just passed my 25th year of survival and am completely cancer free and never suffered the disfigurement that seemed inevitable. I changed careers and became a social worker so I could offer help and support to people who were ill and found that I was not the only person who had to face illness or adversity without supports. I now understand how many people fear death and dying and serious illness.
I have found many wonderful people who have helped me at difficult moments and people who could ask for and accept my help when they were suffering.
I can finally look back and forgive all those who were not there for me when I was afraid I'd die. I was bitter and had little trust in others for a long time, but we were young and thought we were invincible and my challenges must have frightened them. I hope they have found peace and that if they faced difficult moments, there were people to support them.