I didn’t know what to expect when I walked into the hospital room. On the door was a sign that said please talk to the nurse before entering. She has been living with ovarian cancer for more than a year, keeping it under control with chemotherapy. She has a lot to live for because she has two young daughters. Recently the cancer got much worse and damaged her intestines. The holes in the intestine were patched in surgery and tubes are helping them drain. I heard that she was on hospice and they thought she would pass last week, but she rallied.
I went to the nurse’s station and said that I would like to visit. The nurse was very cheerful and asked how I knew her. Then she knocked on the door and opened it to tell her I was there. I was greeted by a big smile and a bright face. “Thank you for coming.” Inside were three other young women friends who were smiling and upbeat. Not the situation I had feared before entering.
I sat beside her bed and she filled me in about recent events. “I’m on hospice now,” she said, “but I’m hoping to get off. I had to come in for the surgery and to get the pain under control. They told me I only had 72 hours, but here I am! There is some skepticism that the holes in my intestine will heal on their own.” Then she motioned me to get a little closer and said, “But I’m keeping my focus. I believe my body can heal.” She said it as if it were a secret that not everyone would agree with.
She has always had a strong inner light and determination to heal, and here it was still beaming. Her body looked very thin and she wore a bandana around her forehead. Above that there was very little hair. But her eyes were bright. and she was very much alive. “You have always been a strong woman,” I said. “Your inner light is shining brightly.”
I asked her if there was a plan now. She said, “They think I don’t need full hospital care, but the tubes make it a little tricky. The girls are going back to school tomorrow. When I thought I only had a few days to live I wanted them by me.”
When I stood to leave, I told her that I was going to send her light every day to support her own. As I walked out of the room and down the hall, I felt inspired to see her optimism in such dire circumstances. I felt the strength of her inner spirit and her will to live. I want to support that. We are alive until we are not. We can help hold the candle for each other.
If you are reading this today, I hope you will take a moment and see her, and all the people in the hospital, bathed in the healing light of love.