On a gorgeous fall Saturday in October, Shannon and Dave Carney, and Cheryl Lecroy with Wind River Cancer Wellness Retreats & Programs, hosted a reunion celebration for those who attended this year’s 24 Hours of Booty Survivor Café back in July. Fourteen cancer survivors and caregivers gathered at the beautiful Wind River property in Tryon, NC.
This get-together was just what I needed after a most challenging year serving as caregiver for my husband, Sander, through his cancer journey.
During our Wind River gathering we explored the lovely grounds, ate a delicious home-cooked meal, enjoyed some deep-breathing exercises, talked, laughed and connected with others who also shared the cancer experience. It was a wonderful day to nourish our souls, minds, and bodies.
One particularly poignant moment came during a group discussion when one participant mentioned how she began the process of “letting go” when she arrived at Wind River. She was learning to move on from past demons, live in the moment, and let things go.
The “letting go” theme resonated with the other participants and me as well. Through Sander’s cancer journey, living in the present became a vital component of caregiving, never knowing what challenges each day would bring. We had to “let go” of all of our plans and expectations for the year including planned vacations, cherished time with family and friends, and more, never knowing what would come next in his cancer journey and beyond. It was often frightening and even overwhelming, but by letting things go and focusing on what was required in the moment in regards to Sander’s care, our daughter’s needs, our business and my own self-care, we all got through one of the most challenging times of our lives and grew stronger and closer for our efforts. It gave us an entirely new perspective on priorities and what’s really important in life.
Among the guests at the reunion was Dr. Shami Hariharan with Atrium Health Levine Cancer Institute. She observed, “By letting go, you are more in control of your life and existence. It’s the only way to heal.” She is absolutely right.
Her message is a powerful reminder to reset our minds, actions and responses when faced with challenges or frustrations, whether it’s a cancer journey, a stressful day at work, an aggressive driver who cuts you off, or demons from our past.
I will be forever grateful for our time at Wind River which proved an ideal place to heal and “let go.” It was also a place to gain new friends and enjoy Shannon’s wonderful split pea soup recipe – a featured part of our meal – that she is graciously sharing with the 24 Foundation community (see below).
Enjoy the soup, take time for yourself and learn to let go.
This was written by Jenni Walker who has been involved with 24 Foundation since 2007 and a 24 Hours of Booty participant since 2010.