Darn You, Ed Sheeran!

Some people listen to music for the melody or the beat; I listen to music for the lyrics, and that cheeky little carrot top, Ed Sheeran and all participating radio stations who have been playing his song “Photograph” have been responsible for my impaired vision on many a drive because the lyrics are so damn poignant.

When my dad died from colon cancer in 2006, we laid out all of the photo albums my mom had been compiling during their twenty-five years of marriage.  There were black and white pictures from his mysterious childhood, and color photos from the start of my parents’ marriage in the seventies right up until death they did part.

It changed something inside of me to lose someone who had been such a big part of my life, and then to look back at the photos.  Our lives as we lived them had often been difficult.  In my memories of my childhood, there is a lot of pain and sadness, but when you looked back at the photographs, all you could see were smiles:  happy birthdays, family vacations, graduations, triumphant sporting victories, holidays, school concerts, plays, awards ceremonies, reunions…

Looking back through those photos, life looked good.  All the stress my father dealt with working at a job he hated was for those moments.  The blissful life depicted by the family in those photographs were his life’s work.

dad pic

As part of my grieving process I looked through every last album, and when I finished, I knew one day when I had a family of my own, I wanted to be able to give them all the happiness as pictured in the photographs, and additionally, I wanted us to be happy in the moments not captured on film.

2006 was also the same year Twitter was born and the same year Facebook became open to anyone with an email address over the age of 13.  With the pending explosion of the popularity of image sharing via social media websites there became a new way for us to curate our afterlives.

Fast-forward to 2014 when I was diagnosed with stage 3 triple negative cancer at the age of thirty-two, and it became a reality that I might not get to live a very long life. The albums would stop being made, and my life’s work would be suddenly finished while still in its larval stage.  My husband and I had only been married for four years, and our daughter was only two years old at the time of my diagnosis.

2014 was also the same year Ed Sheeran’s song “Photograph” was released on iTunes.

Now it’s 2016, and I’m showing no evidence of disease.  I just ordered our yearly album of family photographs from Shutterfly.com, and I lie awake in bed tearing up just thinking about those lyrics.  Darn you, Ed Sheeran!

yearly photo album

Here is the official video for the song.

Mahalia Breen is the author of 30ish available in Kindle and paperback form on Amazon.  She has recently repatriated after six years of living overseas and currently spends her days taking photos of her family in rural Vermont.

image via

Songs For Feeling Inspired

young adult cancer

I had a cancer scare a few months ago.  I haven’t shared it with you all yet…but I will.  Until then, when I was scared and feeling isolated and not sure what would happen next, I listened to this song over and over and over again.  I needed to remember that no matter what happened, it was important that I Was Here.

Do you have a song that makes you feel inspired during young adult cancer or illness?

Songs For Feeling Strong

young adult cancer

I have a scan this week.  It is my first scan of my 4th year of remission.  It is also the first scan that happens a whole year after the previous one.  All of that extra time in between scans has made me nervous.  I feel nodes that I don’t remember feeling.  I’ve cried in the shower as I fathomed what it would be like to face another round of being in active treatment.  But I’ve also found this song during all of that time.  I play it when I run, I play it when I’m in the shower, I play it while I clean the house…it is basically on repeat all the time.  Fight Song makes me feel strong.

Young adult cancer is no joke and finding something that makes you feel stronger isn’t either.

Do you have a song that makes you feel strong?

Songs For Movin’ and Groovin’

songs for movin and shakin

You know when you just need that little bit of pick me up to get you going?  That little boost to get your body moving and your mind engaged?  Yea…me too!  I just love songs for movin and shakin!  Whether you’re a young adult cancer survivor or caregiver, or a young adult chronic illness sufferer, finding ways to get yourself moving and motivated is so important.

Lately I’ve been using a Taylor Swift song, Shake It Off, for just that purpose.  I put it on while I’m in the shower and getting dressed, cooking dinner, cleaning the house, you name it!

Do you have a song that helps get you movin’ and grovin’ in the world?  Let us know!

Songs For Hard Times

songs for hard times

You know, when you’re sad, or scared, or lonely…you find that one song and it become this anthem of your struggle?  My most recent song to get me through a tough time is by Phillip Phillips, Gone Gone Gone.

What songs do you use when you’re feeling down?  Maybe you need some good pysch up music for a doctor’s appointment or treatment session…maybe you need some relaxing music when you’re having a down moment…or something supportive for when you’re needing a shoulder to lean on.  Let us know!  Share in the comments or by emailing info(at)lacunaloft(dot)com and we’ll make a play list to suggest to other young adult cancer survivors!

P.S.  This one gets played on repeat too

A Beautiful Message From Colbie Caillat

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A good friend sent me the link to this video recently and I have not stopped listening to it.  The feel good and beautiful message from Colbie Caillat is that it’s not about the makeup and the hair and the nails and the clothes and the body shape.  We talk a bit about many of these things here at Lacuna Loft in an effort to take control over our lives while difficult things beyond our control are happening…but life isn’t just about how we look.  And how we look can only take how we feel so far.  The main question that she poses is Do you like you? ….

You don’t have to try so hard.  You don’t have to give it all away.  You just have to get up.  Get up.  Get up.  Get up.  You don’t have to change a single thing.  You don’t have to try, try, try, try…

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