On 01.02.02, I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. Too late for surgery, I had chemotherapy, which failed. In May the chemotherapy was changed and I was soon in remission which was celebrated and welcome and lasted nine years - until October 2011. There was progression in 2011 so more treatment was indicated and I am now back in partial remission. But I'm not only a cancer patient - I also enjoy my family, walk my dogs and am learning to draw and paint. Life is good!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sunday thoughts

Today is the fourth Sunday of Advent and the Gospel lesson read this morning was the story of the annunciation.  The sermon was about angelic experiences.  And that started my mind spinning about angelic experiences of my own.

When I think of angels, I immediately exclude friends, long-term relationships and certainly relatives - not because they aren't capable of being angelic towards me - they often are - but because my personal definition seems to only allow for fleeting, chance experiences grounded in synchronicity.  The angels I acknowledge are never known and never seen again.  I'm rather on the fence as to whether I mean this as real or metaphorically. But these are the strangers who say something I really need to hear in that moment or who suddenly arrive bringing help, as in the story I'm about to tell.

I was 4-1/2 when our family moved to a small town in southern Illinois.  My father was a doctoral student at the University of Chicago so he spent summers there and usually the whole family accompanied him.  The year I was six was particularly memorable.

My mother enrolled me in activities at the YMCA, several blocks from our student housing.  She took me twice to teach me the route and I told her confidently that I had it down.  To this day I am the Queen of Getting Lost, so it would have taken at least 50 trial runs for me to really learn the way, but that deficit wasn't known when I was six.

The first day I set off to the Y and - you guessed it - I got lost.  I mean, I really got lost.  I wasn't just lost or lost-lost, I was lost.  There I was, six years old, wandering around the city of Chicago (What were my parents thinking?  Were my parents thinking?) and became quite frightened and began to cry.  Within seconds I was in a sheer panic and racheted it to wailing.

Suddenly, from nowhere, appeared a colored woman (remember, this was 1950).  "What's the matter, little girl?" In between sobs I told her my problem.  She took my hand, walked me about a block and deposited me at the foot of the Y steps, at which point, propelled by relief, I rocketed my way into the building.

I remember that last running bit, I don't remember thanking her.  But this story is over 60 years old and I have thought of her many, many times since then and thanked her from my heart.  I like to think, when I do that, she hears me.


  1. That's a nice memory. Hold on to it. Good luck with the treatment, too.

  2. Thanks, John. If chemobrain LETS me hold on to it, I will! Good thing I wrote it down, huh?


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