I glimpse a yearning in her eyes. A sense of unhurried grace to her step. I notice that ever so slight distance in her smile. Time to step back, I say to myself. She needs her space. I know she is fighting life and seeking her answers.
In her quest, I am comfortable at most times. But there are those brief moments when I know I have crossed a barrier and just then I lose her. To her little fortressed world, so ferociously guarded that I am at a loss. I know by gently excluding me, all she wishes for is to protect me from the dark space that speaks of her vulnerable self. She dislikes feeling fragile even with me.
These days she lives in a space far removed from the world she has always known. It is a world of white walls and sanitized rooms, of innumerable therapies whose names perplex us, of efficient and clinical oncologists and health care staff. A world where losing her hair has made her see how beautiful she is even without it. A world where she knows she does not have the gift of time.
Her eyes however continue to radiate hope, her face, a glow and there is an inner spark which I hope never dims.
She seeks guidance and reads books that speak to her about acceptance and mindfulness. She seeks a quickening in her spirit, to regain a sense of balance to living (it seems so far away now). She seeks the crisp air and the beauty of changing leaves. She seeks the familiar loop of the known where everything is just the way it was. She seeks laughter and music. Along with solitude and answers too.
I know all of this not because she tells me. My understanding of her is so deep that I know what she seeks. I know she is tired of being tired. I know she doesn’t want pain to be part of her passing. I know she hates to leave people but when her chapter ends she will go with the flow with sheer grace and courage.
And then she asks with a childlike curiosity laced with her unique wisdom, “Am I going to actually find what I want in this unfamiliar place with its lingering smell of fear? Is it here that I will unlock the mysteries of birth and death and everything in between”?
I tell her what comes to my mind,” Slay these demons of yours and make them your friend”. The oddest reply to a profound question perhaps but then how else does one answer this question?
I don’t wish to lose her and even when I do, until then I wish she treasures the life she leads and makes the most of it. This is what I seek for her. For her to embrace
uncertainty and bravely slay her inner demons. For her to find the answers she seeks.
I sit by her side holding her hand silently just being with her grace and innocence.
(A piece of fiction written for The Great Shakes writers group for a theme on Quest)