Got The Best Gift; Why I Need To Give It Back

This is a “Thank You” note to my friend, Clare.

Clare, who has delivered the best gift this holiday season.

A gift for me.

A gift for you.

Clare, which rhymes with “Share.”

Clare who’s life has changed forever.

That’s what she’s sharing.

And boy, has she shared.

The amazing and generous Clare with her husband, Jay, and daughter, Sofi. What a gift!

The amazing and generous Clare with her husband, Jay, and daughter, Sofi. What a gift!

Shared with her friends and Facebook community the hugest shock of her life.

That routine mammogram, the one she got just because she should, it showed a lump.

A lump she hadn’t felt.

Oh yes, we certainly are in that era where people can over share.

Not Clare.

She’s hit it just right.

As a fellow former CNN’er, she knows she has a bunch of journalists in her tribe.

Here’s the thing about that—we like to know stuff.

So when she describes the way doctors were able to do a double mastectomy and rebuild her breasts from tummy fat all in one operation, we, her people, are thinking, “They can do that? Who knew? That’s pretty cool.”

And weird and different and horrifying.

That’s what Clare shares.

“My breasts are way higher than they should be at 48 and I have a flat tummy,” she wrote. “It doesn’t look like me..but then it kind of does.”

I mean, if you have to have a souvenir from cancer surgery, why not perkier boobs and a flat tummy?

Which is not to make light of what she’s been through.

I’ve been to war with Clare.

Literally, I mean been to war.

We both covered the start of the Iraq war.

So I know she’s someone who can, who insists, who finds a moment to smile through the most horrifying of circumstances.

This brings me to the best part of Clare’s gift.

Of her sharing.

She will tell you huge parts of this diagnosis and surgery have sucked.

Capital “S” sucked.

Big time.

There was no holding back on a recent blog post where she shared this has been, “The most traumatic and horrific event I’ve ever been through.”

I love her most for that.

For that kind of sharing.

Not because I wish her a second of suffering.

Rather, because sometimes stuff is hard.

Really hard.

Absurdly, obnoxiously, 1000 on a scale of 1-10 hard.

When you share that, when someone strong and positive, upbeat like Clare shares that, I can exhale.

Blowing out a bit of the façade that life is easy.

Sometimes, it’s not.

But you know that.

So, to you, who is holding your breath as you read this, who has some really hard challenges this holiday season—your own health crisis, first time without the person you love, dreading meeting your father’s new girlfriend, a broken heart, cold toes.


I’m sending you this gift from Clare.

An invitation to let out a giant exhale.

A giant exhale.

A giant exhale.

Go ahead and do it.

It’s hard this year.

Some years are.

And that’s okay.

Okay to say.

Okay to share.

Just ask Clare.

Please catch my newspaper column each week in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Dayton Daily News and other Cox Newspapers around the country.




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Got The Best Gift; Why I Need To Give It Back

by DarynKagan time to read: 2 min
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