There is no moving on.

We may want to. It sounds easier to just “get over it”. To declare ourselves healed. To say we are free. To call the struggles finished.

But there is no moving on.

The pain will always linger, even as it lessens. We may smile again, but some days, we will cry. Our brokenness remains. The scars remind us where we’ve been. Sometimes they’ll feel faded. But then out of nowhere, they’ll be fresh wounds once again. As if it happened yesterday. As if we were right in the middle of it.

Because truthfully, we still are. Always in the middle, even as we step forward.

There is no moving on.

You may want us to. But remember, we do, too. Wouldn’t it be so nice? To start fresh, in a new phase of life? To turn the page without ever looking back? To cover our tracks and focus solely on what’s ahead? To live freely? To forget?

But then maybe it wouldn’t be so nice. Because honestly, it made us who we are. To move on would be unfair. It sounds easy, but that’s exactly the problem. We would cheat the depth of the situation.

We need to honor the pain in order to take the next step.

There is no moving on.

It’s not a one-way street. There are twists and turns, ups and downs. Sometimes we have to take the long way. Sometimes to get ahead, we first have to turn back. Some streets don’t connect, and there is no map of these roads. We fumble our way through the maze, but somehow we will get to where we are going.

There is no moving on.

You may think we have, and some days it feels that way. But no matter what, we always remember. In an instant, we are taken right back to that moment.

There is no moving on.

We have to go through. There are baby steps, and giant leaps, and then being knocked back to the ground. We get back up, but sometimes slowly. Sometimes we sprint, and sometimes we waddle. Sometimes you’ll shout from the sidelines that we are going the wrong direction.

With each step, we are learning. There is no moving on.

There is only moving forward.

This post originally appeared on Contemplating Cancer


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Julieann Selden

Julieann Selden is a chemistry graduate student and non-profit volunteer. Her husband, Ken, is recently in remission from sarcoma cancer. On her blog,, she examines the thoughts and emotions of life through the lens of an aggressive cancer diagnosis.