I spent some time Friday evening with a long-time friend of mine and a wonderful SWOG. I learned her younger brother was in his final battle with cancer. I believe she said he has been fighting it for eleven years (I know it was double digits and felt like a long time), and he’s now being cared for by her mother, her and our local Hospice.
In that moment my heart ached for her and her mother. Her mother just lost her husband and life partner only a few years ago, and now she’s facing the death of her only son. I didn’t ask my SWOG girlfriend specifically, but if I were to guess, I believe he’s only between 50 and 55 years old. It seems too young to part with him from this earth.
She’s handling it with the grace I have come to anticipate from her, and I admire her strength and tireless spirit with which she is helping both her brother and her mom. I couldn’t help but reflect on the life events she and I have shared over the years…our three parents’ deaths, our kids’ ups and downs, my divorce, her husband’s accident, health issues, and the joys of adventures, new artwork, new businesses, new jobs and so on. Through all of it, she remains a beacon of light and wisdom–encouragement and beauty.
I was cleaning out a cabinet yesterday and found my little Simple Truths book written by Kent Nerburn. There are chapters on everything from “Love” to “Work” to “Money” to “Travel” to “Death,” but there’s one in the book called “Strength,” and it reminded me of her. Mr. Nerburn says in this chapter:
True strength does not require an adversary and does not see itself as noble or heroic. It simply does what it must without praise or need of recognition.
A person who can quietly stay at home and care for an ailing parent (or sibling) is as strong as a person who can climb a mountain. A person who can stand up for a principle is as strong as a person who can fend off an army. They simply have quieter, less dramatic, kinds of strength.
True strength does not magnify others’ weaknesses. It makes others stronger. If someone’s strength makes others feel weaker, it is merely domination, and that is no strength at all.
What a wonderful description of what I see in her on a regular basis. Thank you for the blessing of your friendship.
We are with you my dear SWOG. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.