Dancing Brought Healing To Her Life
Written by Elizabeth McCabe
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
With obstacles come opportunities. Pinehills resident Mercia Tapping is living proof of this life lesson. After undergoing personal struggles, her life story became an inspiration to others through her sheer grit and determination.
Mercia shares her story, “A few years ago, I had the idyllic life – at least it was for me. I had a husband whom I loved deeply, I enjoyed good health and I was one of the top 20 woman entrepreneurs in Massachusetts. Over the course of a few short years, I lost it all. My husband got glioblastoma, terminal brain cancer; my CFO committed massive internal financial fraud while my husband was sick; I then got advanced breast cancer and was unable to run my company, so it was eventually sold in a distressed sale. Therefore, the woman who ostensibly had everything suddenly had nothing.
Every one of these incidents took every ounce of my will and more, just to survive. Each time I would ask myself whether I had the strength to get through all the pain and darkness, and whether I had a life worth fighting for.”
How did she cope? Dancing! Mercia learned to dance her way to better health. After her husband’s death, Mercia was making a slow recovery from breast cancer. Although she could barely walk across the room, she bought a Fitbit, turned on the music to Pandora and paced the length of her house.
Mercia says, “Strangely enough, I found my walking became more enjoyable if I boogied a bit to the music, and at least no one else was watching. I enjoyed moving to the music even though chemotherapy had left me with neuropathy in my feet, and they felt like two blocks of wood. By December of 2016, I was gaining in strength but I still wobbled as I walked, looking like a very old woman. One night, as I was listening to my music while walking, I remembered that an unfulfilled dream had been to dance with my husband, and I lifted up my arms as if to simulate dancing with a ghost. I immediately felt his presence and tears rolled down my face, as I heard his voice whispering from heaven that I should go and learn to dance.”
Mercia contacted Fred Astaire, who told her that her previous unused lessons had not expired and that she was entitled to four free lessons! Some things are just meant to be. Dancing came easily to her. Her instructor asked her, “Are you sure that you have never danced before?” Mercia says, “I do not quite know what happened, but I was enjoying myself. I was amazed! Afterward, I walked towards my car with tears in my eyes and I heard my husband’s voice saying, ‘Merry Christmas, Honey. This is my gift to you.’”
The rest you could say is history. “I found, much to my surprise, that indeed I was a natural on the dance floor,” says Mercia. Best of all, dancing has brought healing into her life by improving her balance, her walking and miraculously curing her neuropathy. Could it be that she got a little help from above?
She found purpose to her pain, which became a platform to others. Mercia says, “In December 2017, after just one year of dancing, I danced a choreographed Paso Doble at Plymouth Memorial Hall to over 200 people. I depicted my battle with breast cancer and my partner portrayed my doctor. The purpose behind my dance was to show others that you can come back from a life-threatening illness, and learn something completely new that can bring you great joy. Amaze yourself and step out of your comfort zone. You just might find as I did that even at my age, you are never too old to learn.”
She adds, “Whatever time I have left on this planet, I mean to live life intensely, passionately, and get every drop of life out of it.” Mercia is doing that each and every time, serving as a living inspiration to others.
To learn more about Mercia’s journey, pick up a copy of her book, Only One Life: Don’t Waste It, which chronicles her cancer journey. Be inspired by her blog at MerciaTapping.com or OnlyOneLife.com. Or find her on Facebook at Mercia Jane Tapping and at Only One Life: Don’t Waste It.