I thought you were my soul mate, but I was wrong. I should have gotten to know you first, before I demanded you fill my empty spaces. You taught me that shaming, and abusing you for not being who I wanted you to be, wasn’t going to make you love me. I thought you were my life’s work, but I was wrong. I inflated myself, and the importance of the project I was working on to grandiose proportions. You taught me that making something bigger than it is, while it might make me feel very important, places impossible expectations on myself and the body of work. You also showed me the folly of it. How can I proclaim that this is my life’s work, while I’m still living? Or will I call everything my life’s work? I thought I couldn’t survive the loss of you. I was wrong, I’m still here. You taught me that I was capable of living without you, even though I wished you had never died. I thought I didn’t have the strength to go on, and that I would never be okay again, but I’m doing just fine. I thought I could never reclaim myself again. I was wrong. You taught me that a double mastectomy might physically change me, but that I was still me. You taught me that sometimes your life blows up into a million pieces, but eventually you reconfigure them in a whole new beautiful way. I thank all my teachers. I hated you at the time, but there was no other way for me to truly know how strong, wise, and brave I could be.