Taking stock of this year – which began with her engagement to Lance Armstrong until they broke it off, just weeks before she ended up being diagnosed with breast cancer – Sheryl Crow says she’s grateful for much of what happened to her.
“I’ve had so many people (say to) me, ‘Gosh, you know, everything’s really gone wrong for you this year,’ and it took me going through that to realize that everything really went right for me,” the singer, 44, told the TV host on Thursday’s episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show.
“It brought me to this point where I am now, and I really feel like I have a lot of clarity.”
Part of the pain of the breakup with Armstrong, whom she’d been dating for two years, was the very public nature of the split. But what she also took from the experience, she says, is that “even though it’s not, perhaps, a functional relationship, the love doesn’t stop.”
As for the lesson from her medical diagnosis and treatment – doctors caught the cancer early, resulting in her undergoing a lumpectomy and six and a half weeks of radiation – Crow discovered that it feels good to cry, something she now tries to do every day.
“It’s in really experiencing your emotion, holding the emotion, really working through the emotion,” she said. “Those are the conditions for your awakening. That’s how you really find out who you are.”
She also came to appreciate her family, and bought a home in Nashville, Tenn. to be near them. “At the end of the day, you really go to where the people are that are constantly helping you to remember who you are, who you were born to be,” she said. “Your family, your friends, those are the people that really are here in your life for a reason to sort of help you find your way.”
Now cancer-free for six months, Crow carries something else besides the lessons of her dramatic year: four small “radiation tattoos.”
“I will eventually have them removed but it’s a nice reminder,” she said. “I want to remember every moment of what was going on at that time because we talk about defining moments, but I think nothing can define you. They’re all refining moments. You’re constantly refining yourself and refining your life.”