08/23/2014 01:23 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

This Is All The Advice You Need For Surviving Hardship

From Kim Becking for DivorcedMoms.com

It’s been over twelve years since I first heard those words -– “You have breast cancer.” You think it can’t happen to you. You say I’m 30, I’m healthy and I have no family history. Life was going according to plan –- but all of that changed with those four simple words. One week I’m planning my son Brandon’s two-year old birthday party and the next week I’m starting my first round of chemotherapy. After aggressive chemotherapy, a mastectomy with breast reconstruction, several other minor surgeries, and treatment for lymphedema, twelve years later, I am cancer free.

The best advice I ever got was from my friend Patti, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at the young age of 24. Unfortunately, Patti lost her battle with breast cancer in 2003 at the age of 29. But Patti’s wisdom and legacy lives on, in her own words, in our book Nordie’s at Noon.

Patti gave me a two-sided handwritten card as soon as I was diagnosed. Twelve years later, and I still have that card in my desk –- and pull it out when I need to remind myself that I am allowed...

When I was going through my divorce, there were days when I couldn’t function. I was on a rollercoaster of emotions -– the highs, the lows, the fear, the unknowns. There were some really dark days. And on those days, I would pull out the card that Patti gave me.

Here was her advice, and now my advice to you (with a few additions that I added during my divorce), as you are navigating this scary world of the unknown, perhaps with a broken heart, and a broken spirit.

divorced mom
divorced moms

You are allowed...
to be sad,
to feel helpless,
to be tired,
to be scared,
to cry,
to be depressed,
to be lonely,
to be angry,
to ask why,
to scream,
to feel overwhelmed,
to grieve,
to feel like no one can relate,
to feel lost,
to hide under the covers,
to see a counselor,
to wish this never happened to you
-or to others,
to feel out of control,
to feel betrayed,
to wonder “what if?”,
to long for simple things,
and simple times...
to wish for more.

But on the flip side --

You are allowed...
to be grateful,
to feel loved,
to find the joy,
to be surrounded by people who care,
to feel nurtured,
to be hopeful,
to realize you are not alone,
to laugh,
to be inspired,
to be motivated,
to be filled with faith,
to do what you can,
to be the victor, not the victim,
to learn to ask for help,
to breathe,
to let go of the past,
to believe in yourself,
to not be defined by others,
to never, ever give up,
to find "you" again,
to write your own story,
to make today count,
to be YOU-tiful,
to realize you are stronger than you ever thought!

Whichever side of the card are you on today, you are allowed.

What great advice for us all. As someone who has faced cancer and divorce, and feeling at times like the divorce was actually harder than the cancer for me, I have had to pull out my "You Are Allowed" card on many occasions. We all need to give ourselves permission to feel -- both the good and the bad. Your experience with divorce is different than anyone else's experience. So deal with it however YOU need to.

And realize that at times in your life, it’s okay to be on either side of the card -– to cry but also laugh, to feel alone, but realize that you are not alone, to feel afraid but also feel grateful. We need to give ourselves permission to feel all of these things. So regardless of which side of the card you are on, just remember that YOU ARE ALLOWED.

More From DivorcedMoms.com
6 Reasons Women File for Divorce More Often Than Men
5 Signs You Are Settling For Less Than You Deserve in Your Relationship
Choosing Divorce: 5 Signs it Was Time For Me to Pull The Plug
Codependency: What Does How You Relate to Others Say About You
Death or Divorce: What Does One Have to do With The Other?

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