“To live well means basically to learn to love.”
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross in her book on Life After Death
I am writing this just minutes after learning that yet again a young woman who is a mother, partner, friend, daughter, sister, and way too young to be dying, has received a diagnosis of stage 4 cancer.
What is this demon cancer? Where does it come from? How do we fight it, conquer it, solve the mystery of its existence? Why? Why does she have cancer? Stage 4. Not a good prognosis.
I turned to my book shelves and Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s book fell into my hands and opened to the page that says: To live well is to learn to love. I don’t know what common threads weave together the quote and her diagnosis; but I do know that loving our fellow life-travelers, especially during times of huge distress and anxiety, is one of the responsibilities we must all take seriously.
Some of us know better how to love others than we know how to love self. Love for self means respect and regard for the gift of life we have been given. A gift we have been generously allowed and are obliged to use kindly. It is an honour to have been invited to visit planet earth for however long we may have to be here. Hopefully most of us were welcomed as we shot down the birth canal into the waiting arms of mid-wife/ nurse/ doctor: preferably someone who cared enough to catch us before we fell onto the unforgiving floor of life. Someone to catch us before life’s difficult realities tried to hold us hostage.
I suspect this woman with cancer would dearly love to be caught now, by some kindly soul who cares about her, before she crashes. That is our job. We are the kindly souls who have a job to do. Our job is to hold in our heart her preciousness, her divinity, her Being. Our job is to love without judgement or even knowing or understanding, just simply to send love to her and into the whole world.
There is so much pain. We need to spread our arms wide and pull into our heart more love, so the pain in our world can lessen. So pain and fear can heal, can settle, can let go of us and allow us to move forward into life free of chains and demons. Free of fear, of being alone, of physical pain. We deserve to be held kindly and gently as we stumble over the hard parts of living.
Remember to love yourself, to be soft and gentle and kind to those around you. Fill the universe with wisdom and beauty so no one is forced to swallow the darkness and bitterness of those unable to find light and hope. This woman is carrying part of the illness of our world. For her to heal we must care. We must make darkness matter and face what is frightening with kindness. She, and all the others who are sick and dying and desperate and in pain, hold the burden of a world that is becoming too sick to stand proudly.
It is time to make a noisy sign of loving kindness for everyone. It is time to see hope and trust, not death or fear or intimidation, as the answer to differences. I believe those of us who carry illness are the canaries in the mines. The body is saying life is too difficult. Too much is expected. Not enough is given. Love is missing.
There aren’t any more words right now. I am so very sorry yet again a dear soul has been diagnosed with a dreaded dis-ease. Please remember to love yourself and be kind to each other. It matters. You matter. Life matters.