(See my follow up at the end of this story)
The ice and rain spit hard against my window pane like a child spitting watermelon seeds onto a dinner plate. I read the news and it hit me just as hard. Ping. Ping. Ping. The sound of my heart. THREE MONTHS TO LIVE. My mascara was caught up in the tears as they fell onto the page and soiled the script. This could not be true! Stupid cancer. And yet here was this vision of exuberance, with dignity and grace as she invited all along for the journey far too many have travelled and even more fear to go. And yet, somehow, we followed, willingly, with optimism and support watching and waiting for the next words of wisdom. Where would she take us next?
Where she took us was into a land of wonder and communion. One body, one throng 18 thousand strong and counting up a mountain to stake a flag. For the valleys, she made for us bridges, so we didn’t have to fall into the pit of despair, no, it was not there. The bridge was strong and beautiful. She made it herself, to lift and carry the masses along, she, in her scarfed-head and joyous spirit, she offered reality and we offered hope and good will.
Along the way, there have been triumphs and tragedies, disappointments and heartaches, but she responded with positive commands and wistful beckoning. And we followed. Applauding. Laughing. Enjoying. And not one of us wished for an end to this amazing adventure that taught us and made us stronger. She was unstoppable. We were unstoppable. For where she went we, like Mary’s little lamb, were sure to follow.
And as we followed, we were reminded of why we moved effortlessly with her. The joy. The laughter. The beauty and grace. The incomparable spirit that would not let go.
In this world where so much is unknown, this much is fact. We humans of this earth, can carry on if we choose to. And choose to we must. For there is hope where there is life. And life is a precious gift no matter the circumstances, even with pain. In this world where so many fall down, there must be someone to raise them up, to heal their wounds, to listen to their heartaches, not casting them aside. And we as humans have an obligation to do these things to and for each other. To raise up. So I am respectful of this woman who chooses the higher ground to walk on, to tread lightly on people’s feelings and wash over the doom and sadness that could and does often fill our hearts in times such as this. Consider:Can you look at your circumstances differently so as to make the road you must walk easier?
And so we walk behind her, straining our necks, looking, peering over the masses to see, anticipating her next move with great excitement. Where will she take us next?
Hopefully, into ourselves, into our own reflection, for she is after all, one of us, just a human, as we all are, who all need to eventually walk our own road and stake our own flag. The question is, how will WE choose to do it?
This woman chooses wisely, with solace and all somberness, with truth and deep gratitude, with laughter and joy, this woman called Valerie.
(See my follow-up piece, Valerie; You’re Gonna Make It After All by Janice Tindle https://janicetindle.wordpress.com/2014/02/20/valerie-your-gonna-make-it-after-all-by-janice-tindle/