Saturday, January 07, 2006

Grey Days, Sunny Days

Mississippi weather in winter goes from a few days of golden warmth to a few days of bitter cold--if you can call 40 degrees that! On days of overcast skies you have to get through them wearing the hat of blah-ness, hoping for something to pull you out of this lack of light. Behold! the sun shines the next day and energy renews.

In a sense I'm dealing with a lot of grey days since my sister was told she has cancer. Never has this disease struck so close. I've been surrounded by friends and other relatives with cancer. And try as I could, I couldn't empathize with them, only sympathize. From all my early reading I knew cancer patients have as their mantra a series of old adages: "Take it one day at at time;" "Keep humor in your life:" "Keep stress outside your door;" and many I could make up now. The only way I could connect with these patient-friends to tell them I cared for them and the changes in their lives was to send frequent emails with "I'm thinking of you, I love you." How much strength they receive from these messages, but the sentiments are the only gift I know how to give.

The door opens and I enter into their world. I'll learn what really happens as I overhear conversations in the waiting room; understand the effects of the chemo; realize the struggle to overcome the sickness that arrives afterwards. And, out of this I hope to be stronger, more patient, and minister better to those with whom I come in contact.

It isn't going to be easy to spend the next six months in and out of the clinic, cradling a depressed patient in my arms as she cries and wants to give up, all the time keeping up her spirits. But this is a choice I happily make.

There'll be grey days and sunny days.

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