Sonya Caldwell  // real estate broker // yogi & healer // wife & mother  // survivor of her mother (passed in 2010 to pancreatic cancer), her heroic brother (passed in 2008 fighting a fire), her father (chronic leukemia), & husband (Squamous cell carcinoma)
Posted August 9, 2015

My brother was a firefighter for 17 years, & died in the line of duty in 2008. After that tragedy, my mom … It just took a lot out of her, & that’s when you get cancer, & the cancer can creep in … To me, I also feel like a lot of the cancer (& this is me) is a little stress-related. I can see that sometimes when people hold things — but maybe not manifest it — cancer comes out in different ways. By 2010, my mother had passed. My father had had chronic leukemia YEARS before – a decade before.

“When I lost my brother, I began to hike & hike & hike, & I needed to go to my mat to breathe. I had been doing [yoga] like everyone else just kind of like, asanas … but I began to get more into the pranayama, because I really needed to breathe through it. It’s really been a tool for me.

“I’m working on my advanced [yoga] certification, because I want to teach continuing education classes on how to get back to happy, how to come out of a grieving situation, how to live a compassionate life — because those are all tools to move through valleys in your life. We all hit a valley — just like with cancer — & with my husband, yoga was a great tool for him to move back out of it. To move back into & give back to himself, because I knew that for him, he felt like a shell after it. It was interesting when he began to gain his weight back, the physician said you kind of fill back up; it’s kind of like pouring water into a glass. You have to gain your weight internally before you see it externally.

“Mindfulness is a big part of my life, because losing my brother and my mother & all these challenges: I am learning to live in the moment. I am in the moment of today. I want to live this moment with zest & zeal.

“You want to revel in the moment of the bird singing, the breeze on your face. You just want to be there. You begin to cherish & value it all so much more. That’s exactly what I came away with; that’s the good in it. It teaches you to be so much more purposeful. It’s given me a greater curiosity too, in the moment I am in. If I’ve gotten anything from it, that is the best thing.”