5 Years of “The Xanax Diary”

It seems like I’ve always had this blog; that it has always been here to engage me and calm me and focus me and distract me. But I haven’t. I’ve always written for those reasons, but it wasn’t until 2010 when I started doing so in this blog.

To think about it now, my life is starkly different to when I started this blog in December 2010. I was married to Ken and he was battling his second cancer diagnosis in as many years. And I was trying like hell to write about–think about–anything other than his cancer. I stumbled around for a few months, writing about whatever I could think of that might make a compelling post until I was faced with the only thing I really could write about: Ken’s cancer had returned.

My life is also very similar to then. Though in a new place, I live in the same neighborhood. Go to the same job. Have many of the same friends. Do many of the same things. And Ken’s presence is still felt profoundly in my heart and in my home.

When Ken was terminally diagnosed and came home to be in hospice care, my entire life was consumed with caregiving, managing schedules, administering pain meds, coordinating visitors, all the while actively trying to remain the moment, to love Ken and to disregard the bleak thoughts of my future. I learned to keep my head down in those weeks of hospice and not look too far ahead. I didn’t want to. I couldn’t handle it.

And to that end, this blog saved me. It’s the through-line of my journey. It’s like the bread crumb trail I’ve left on the path of going through Ken’s illness, his death and learning to embrace what I have of him, and (trying) not to mourn what I’ve lost. (I still don’t always do a great job that.)

I haven’t ever gone back to read any of the posts I’ve written since I wrote them. Until recently. To get some input to write this anniversary post and to try to gain some perspective. In some ways, it was like reading someone else’s blog. I can’t actually remember writing many of them from that 2011–which is as far as I’ve gotten. And it was stunning to realize I only wrote six posts once I “came out” about Ken’s cancer before he died. I wrote prolifically in the months following his death. It was more helpful than I still probably understand. It was easy to spend so much time in my head back then. And it’s where I belonged.

But life now is about trying to maintain balance. Finding time to write about what’s important–including the book I’m still working on about my journey with Ken–and working and enjoying time with family and friends and my pup Kallie.

I’m ridiculously proud of this blog. I remember Ken telling me how proud he was of it, as well. It’s something I created on my own. With my words and my voice to say something important–well, most of the time. It was born during a difficult time in my life and somehow shepherded me through it. It’s been a constant companion and friend to me as my life has slowly opened back up to where it is now.

For those of you who have been with me on this journey, thank you for reading and commenting.

More to come…



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