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Loss in the Community

Last updated: April 2023

I think that one of the hardest parts about being immersed in the breast cancer and advanced breast cancer community is the loss that comes with it.

These past few months feel especially heavy in the cancer community with the loss of Deb (Bowel Babe). I did not personally know Deb, or even know her presence in the community until she was gone.

I do know, however, that she made an enormous impact with the people she did meet in person, and that impact was felt across the community with her loss. It is truly powerful to see how someone’s existence can affect their loved ones so deeply.

Mourning

It can be very difficult to come to terms with mourning someone you did not know. I’m sure a lot of folks in the non-cancer community can relate to this feeling when a celebrity they look up to or an influencer on social media they really like passes away.

At least one person you know still grapples with the death of Robin Williams, Anthony Bourdain, or David Bowie.

Feelings of grief

Not only do these losses come with feelings of grief, but they also come with feelings of relatability and empathy. In this era of social media and putting our lives online to the public, it is hard not to compare our lives to those we see in our feeds.

A stage four diagnosis can come with a lot of things, and I don’t think I ever truly realized that it would come with this big, beautiful community also, but here we are. With this community comes highs and lows, and those lows include lost members.

Feelings of togetherness

There is power in the feeling of togetherness. I think that’s why a lot of individuals search for their people in life. In a post-COVID world, more and more online communities are available to everyone in every category imaginable.

More and more people are connecting digitally and creating that sense of togetherness online, and it’s a beautiful thing. Will everyone meet each other in person at some point in their lives? Maybe not, but those people can still consider themselves friends of each other, I’m sure.

Making an impact

People dream of making some sort of impact in the timeline of their lives. I can understand why that would be a common goal for some. It can be life-changing for some people, and for others, it can simply brighten up their day.

Both scenarios are equally as important, though, because they both are for the betterment of humanity. There is so much darkness in this world; it’s important to spread light, no matter how big or small.

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