My friends aunt has been diagnosed with cancer and I have been with her during most of the procedures of learning what we need to do to address her medical care. It is at times like this that one encounters how unprepared we all are to deal with crisis, especially in relation to emotions concerning mortality of our loved ones. Perhaps the biggest misconception is that courage is expected to hold no fear and optimism no space for doubt.
I sit in her hospital room and read or draw or make certain she eats all that's on her food tray. I love the elegance of this lady and her desire to be who she is, so completely. Her hair is always well combed and she dresses immaculately, even if it is only the hospital gown that adorns her. The air conditioner makes her lips dry and she puts her lip balm on, but I know secretly that the ritual is more significant for her than anything else, and she looks at me quite sternly if she imagines I maybe bossing her!
Routine orders her life and it is here that one sees how the quiet discipline of her life stands tall to guide her, even today, in the cold clinical space of a hospital room. And as we each of us try to bring light into her life, to infuse positive energy and be with her in ways that give to her; it is in fact she who gives to us. Quietly and with an economy of words, this diminutive lady who has taught so many young people as a professor of education, calls upon her own experiences to once again be the example and the touch stone for us all. Strong, courages and stoic.