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Jewish Journal

Venting, Cancer, Friendship, Motherhood, Writing & Love

by Ilana Angel

June 26, 2014 | 1:58 pm

There are days when you just need let it all out and today is one of those days. I feel a great need to vent. I could vent to my friends, family, or therapist, but I’m going to vent here instead. There is comfort in venting to strangers because they don’t know who you are or who you are speaking of, so it is safe. There is also comfort in venting to those you know, because they get you and listen with knowledge. I get the best of both worlds here, which is a blessing.

I have been writing here at JewishJournal.com for a long time and there are so many people who I have never met, but who know me well. You have been reading for over five years and through my words know my point of view on most everything. I know I can vent and you will listen, take what you need from my words, and give me strength when you write me back that you get it and have perhaps felt the same way at some time in your life. That is a magical thing.

I want to scream out that cancer is a vicious bitch. My sister’s ex-husband died of cancer this week. My niece and nephew have lost their Dad at ages 18 and 20. I was already a mother when my Dad died, and he knew my son, so I can't imagine the devestation of losing a parent when you are young. Cancer took my Dad and I'll never forgive her. Why do we refer to cancer as “her”? If cancer were a real woman I would torture her for an inhumane amount of time and enjoy it.

I am sad for these great kids and sad for my sister as she navigates this loss. It is difficult to watch a person die of cancer. You are relieved to have them go just so their pain can be over. How messed up is that? I pray for those who have been touched by this heartache. When someone in your life dies it changes you. It makes one want to live your best life if not for yourself, for them, because they can’t.  If a life is lost you don’t want to waste yours. Death is life changing.

The loss made me sad and the same day I got a call from a friend who has not been a good friend. It occurred to me as we spoke that I am a great friend to them, but don’t get friendship in return. If all you do is give, and all they do is take, it is not friendship. I'm not wasting time on someone who doesn't appreciate me. I told this person they were an asshole and we didn’t need to speak anymore. It was harsh but liberating. Some people are too selfish to maintain friendships.

In evaluating my friendship with this person, I realized what a great friend my son is to me. He is my best friend, my biggest fan, and strongest supporter. He makes me laugh in a way that keeps me young, and makes me mad in a way that inspires unconditional love. He is the voice of reason, calm in the storm, light at the end of the tunnel, answer to my questions, and proof of God. It is truly an honor to call him friend, and being this young man’s mother is everything.

Writing is very cathartic and since I do it everyday for work, I sometimes forget how much fun it is. This feels great.  Writing is wonderful and I am lucky to have it be my job, and blessed to be able to express myself in this forum. Whether I am writing about my life, or the lives of others, I am proud of my work. Both Keeping the Faith and Keeping it Real have led to opportunities that blow my mind. I will share some exciting news soon about the power of a blog.

Writing is a powerful thing. When I get letters from Israel, Russia, Australia, or the Philippines, it takes my breath away. My son read something this morning that was a list of random things he found online. One was that if two people drop a piece of bread at the exact same time on opposite sides of the world, they are making an earth sandwich. It was silly, but charming. We live in a world that has never been as connected, or disconnected, and that is amazing.

I woke up today feeling love. Love for my son, work, health, and a blessed life. Days are long and sometimes complicated, so it is not unusual to forget to take time to reflect and be grateful. I'm home today with my son, who has a summer cold. I've made a massive pot of chicken soup, with the most divine matzo balls, and I am happy. I have a lot of work, errands, and things to get done, but today I am going to do nothing but hang out with my boy and take it easy.

I'm proud of myself for walking away from someone who doesn't know my worth. I'm grateful for those who read my work, share their stories, and keep me in their prayers. Today I am counting my blessings. When one takes a moment to review their life, and sees how great it is, there is inspiration to be healthy, happy, and whole. I appreciate my journey and at the end of the day a little venting is all it takes to remind me to slow down and focus on keeping the faith.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Ilana Angel writes two blogs for JewishJournal.com. KEEPING THE FAITH is about her worldview as a single Jewish mother, and KEEPING IT REAL is all about reality television....

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