Weekly Round Up: The Valentine’s Edition

girl_with_lassoTime for this week’s round-up of the best of the blog posts which I’ve read over the past week. These are the posts that have moved me, taught me something, inspired me, and which I’ve wanted to share with you. Don’t forget if you have written a post which you would like readers to see, just leave a comment below.

Valentine’s weekend. Cynical Hallmark occasion or something more? We all have our opinions on this one, but I thought it a good excuse to focus on love, in its myriad manifestations, as the theme for this week’s round-up. As Nicole writes on her blog “Dismiss the commercial aspect of valentine gifts if you need to. But do not dismiss the value that a sincere expression of love means to someone in your life. “

So let’s start  with Helen who shares a post on the history of Valentine’s Day, before moving on to Florence’s reflections on finding your soul mate,  Debbie’s great reminder to make self-care a priority this Valentine’s and Tami’s love letter to her husband Mike. Tami and Mike’s story is one of support and love through the good and the bad times. Cancer can really test a marriage, as Tami observes, “when you get married, you repeat the “through sickness and in health” vows, but not everyone abides by them”, so if you are lucky to have a partner who does, then you are blessed indeed. Elizabeth shares a very honest portrait of a marriage in her blog and touches on the strain that cancer puts on that relationship, while also celebrating the love and support of her husband John.  Yvonne writes eloquently about love on this her first Valentine’s Day as a widow. Catherine never takes her beautiful relationship with her gorgeous husband Zsolt for granted. She describes every day with him as “a miracle”. Their love for each other shines through her writing and the pictures she shares of the two of them together. If you ever doubted the miracle of love, then you only have to look at Catherine and Zsolt to know it’s true. I get the same feeling when I see pictures and read stories shared by Lois on her 60 years of marriage to her beloved husband Les. If you are already familiar with Lois’s writing, you will know what a lyrical and eloquent writer she is, so I strongly urge you to check out her new ebook This Path We Share: Reflecting on 60 Years of Marriage and send some love and healing Les’s way as he undergoes surgery.

Love of a different kind – a love that comes from a heart that is so big it reaches out to touch us no matter where we are in the world. Jan embodies a caring, compassionate and self-less love typified by these words on her latest blog.

And I can relate better to those who struggle with chronic disease or aging, wondering why their bodies don’t respond the way they used to. I could never say, “I know what you mean” or “I know how you feel” to someone, because I can’t get into that person’s body or mind and understand his or her unique pain. But I can offer people a gentle hug and encouraging words, a listening ear, a warm smile and a hand over their hand.

And now still in this same spirit of love, it would be wonderful if you could call on your reserves and send some to Susan who is going through a rough time right now. Susan is always so kind and supportive to us and even now when she is feeling bad, she still continues to support us in the blogosphere. Susan, we are all here for you. I hope you do know how much you are loved.

One of the things I most admire about Terri is that she is not afraid to share her vulnerability. A quick glance at the exotic pictures she posts from her A Fresh Chapter trips abroad might lead us to think that her life is one filled with excitement and adventure, and while, yes, it is that – it is also not without its daily discomforts, its fears and its sadness. Terri never shies away from telling it like it is – but through it all her indomitable spirit of adventure and courage shines through. Why not offer her some encouragement too.

Elsewhere in the blogosphere…

Beth shares a hair-raising dental emergency.

An important series of posts by Stephanie on issues facing cancer survivors – a topic also up for discussion on Lisa’s blog. And a great question on the Cancer Geek blog – is mortality the only metric when it comes to cancer?

Terrific post by Audrey on returning to work after illness.

Lovely post by Dr Ann Becker Schutte on why sometimes it’s ok to be sad.

Lani writes that she is hanging up her blogging hat, but thankfully not her advocacy.

A really informative and valuable post by Nancy on what to do if you test positive for BRCA+

And finally, this week, we end on a sombre note. I was deeply saddened to hear of the death of Shelli of the Dirty Pink Underbelly. In Shelli’s own words:

Metastatic Breast Cancer is the dirty pink underbelly of breast cancer; the part that exists but is not glamorized or glittered, for which no one marches or holds parades. The only pink ball caps are the ones dropped in the gutter and run over and stepped on. It’s a dirtier shade of before, and it’s reality for many.

Until next week.

Yours with love

Marie xxx

Marie Ennis-O’Connor