By default, as a woman or a caregiver (male or female) we put ourselves last. We focus on the needs of others, just it is in our DNA for some of us. From a young age, I helped care for my brothers and then that caring extended to my husband, our children and our family.
This caring is done in many ways - the way I (try to) keep my house, the laundry, the cooking, the bill paying, the budgeting, etc etc we just do these things some of us all of it, some of us some of it. It adds up, though.
When I got sick, I was down but not out. There were still things I HAD to do and things I WANTED to do and sometimes, I could barely do them but I did my best. I finally learned the meaning of the word, “help” and “yes”.
Mary’s Place by the Sea came to be because a woman got the flu. She got the flu and she felt terrible and as she laid on the couch, there was still something to be done, someone to care for, something to do other than rest and recuperate. I was told this is where the beginning of Mary’s Place by the Sea came about - this woman thought to herself, something like, “Man, I only have the flu and I cannot catch a break - what do women with long-term illnesses do? Where do they go to recover and recuperate?”
From this thought, Mary’s Place by the Sea came into existence. This retreat home is absolutely free of charge for any women who have experienced cancer within the last 6+ months. That is right - it is FREE. You get a room - your OWN room with a bathroom and activities and breakfast and lunch (which were out of this world delicious). You also get company and pampered with activities all done by volunteers. There is no religious requirement; most if not all of the activities can include religion or not - there is no pressure either way.
The home is full with love and attention in every square foot of it. The place was full of women who, like myself, got the plot twist of cancer in our lives. The place was also full of volunteers, women there to make sure we did not get up to serve ourselves or think about anything. Activities were held for us with time in between to just escape to our amazing looking rooms to sit and rest.
I did that a lot. I love my family, my responsibilities, my children, my home, yes, even my husband. However, having a place that for 3 days / 2 nights, I could just be ME - Lisa- without anyone asking me for anything or anyone depending on my for anything was just about the most amazing thing I have ever experienced in my life. To be surrounded by love of these new friends, both guests and volunteers, I have made who I feel will be in my life forever.
I only learned of this place due to a friend who had battled the beast twice. When we first planned and submitted a request to go to Mary’s Place, I was hesitant I would even have the balls to get there. I wrote a little about my qualms here - living-no-enjoying-life-my-upcoming-trip-to-marys-place-by-the-sea.html. Obviously, I got over it and went in no small part because one of the women at Mary’s Place saw my blog post and called me to say, “You need this, come on down!”
I am so glad I did. You can not imagine the restorative effect of great company, amazing food, rest and relaxation and of course the sea. I came home today and wanted to wait to write this post from my bed at home - but took a while to get things situated and stop helping everyone around me...
Mary’s Place by the Sea is a charitable organization and the events and services they provide to women like me are priceless but if you could and you have some extra money, please consider supporting this charity. The benefits can be seen in the smiling pics I will place below of me and my new best friends.
Cancer sucks, help make it suck less.
This is what I do in the time between.