Yesterday, I spoke at a memorial service for the first time, A Living Legacy Memorial Celebration for Marcy Westerling.
I have experience with public speaking and lately the topic revolves around my experiences living with metastatic lung cancer. Now, 4-years plus living in cancer land, I can get through the highs and lows with little emotional response. Not the case yesterday at the memorial.
Crafting my speech I second-guessed nearly every line I typed. I struggled to find the perfect words. SW reminded me ‘be you, that’s what Marcy would want’. Attempting to abort the entire difficult endeavor, I sent an email to the co-organizer saying I’d be happy to step down if they had too many speakers. Nope. I was speaking and near the end after a video of Marcy, just before Mike, Marcy’s spouse. ….okay…?!
I spoke my standard ‘short, to the point, make you laugh, make you cry, and give you something to think about’ style. I got through without tears and making eye contact with the audience most of the time.
Upon completion, after two hugs to the co-hosts, I took my seat in the front row.
It wasn’t until 1:17 am, 9-hours after the event, when the bulk of emotions hit me. Sad. So sad. Grieving. Tears pooling. I missed my friend. Grinning about dropping an F-bomb in a church. (I swear Marcy made me do it!) Thinking about Mike, knowing that one day, chances are good, SW will be in his same shoes. The topic that consistently makes my guts clench and takes my breath away.
I managed to get some sleep once the hamster in my brain stopped running on its wheel.
Like I said in my speech… You take a risk investing in relationships with people who have terminal cancer. You place yourself in a vulnerable zone. It often ends sadly and it can be painful. And, it will be worth every bit of it.