As we walked in the door, we noticed a candle was lit at the nurse’s station. Whenever a hospice client passes on, they light a candle in her or his name, a chance to remember the young soul now gone.
This always gives us pause. Over the years, there have been many candles lit, many young souls passed on. We love the opportunity to be at Canuck place, a place where my son fits in, a place where he is free to be himself, and we welcome the respite time. But the candle always gets me…
We head into his room and I unpack all his clothes. As I leave, I hug Tristan and tell him to have fun. He looks carefully into my eyes, to see if there are any tears welling up. (“‘Don’t cry mom”, he always says. “I won’t” I always lie). I hug and kiss him, tell him how thankful I am to be his mom, and I leave. I cry on the drive back to the ferry.
When I get home, there is a message on my telephone. It’s from Tristan. “Don’t worry mom, I’m fine. I’m having fun here. I know how sometimes you worry, but I’m fine. I just wanted to call to let you know. Call me tomorrow.”
Then my husband turns to me and tells me our dear Uncle Bernie has been diagnosed with stage 4 inoperable brain cancer. A shock. Last week he was the picture of health, but he felt a little dizzy, went to the hospital and he now has just months to live. We are all struggling with the meaning of it all. Perhaps that candle in hospice was really meant for Uncle Bernie.
People think I train and eat well to look good. But it goes so much deeper than that. I lost my dad at 47 years of age, my step-mom at 44. My dear uncle died at 54, my son diagnosed with a terminal illness at just 5 years old.
I’ve known the fragility of life from an early age. I’ve had my share of life and death upheavals. And it continues…. three neighbours in the past 2 years have passed away from cancer, the most recent is 47 years old, leaving 3 young boys and a young wife. Another, a doctor, has been diagnosed with breast cancer.
For me, taking care of my vessel is my job, my duty. It is the greatest act of self love I can do. And even now, even while I eat exceedingly well and train consistently, I can do better. And I vow to do better. I will tighten my eating up, and ensure that ALL my meats are organic, my processed eats are minimal to none, and my drink is clean, clear and without artificials of any kind. It’san act of self destruction to feed yourself with sub optimal food and drink when we have so many other choices.
Cancer and all disease are opportunists, waiting to invade a body whose defences are down, whose immune system is weakened. So I do so not out of fear, but out of love and respect for this amazing thing called the human body. Because fear simply cannot build health. Love builds health.
Love yourself into health, has been my motto for many years. And I teach this simple mantra to all my clients. Be thankful for what you have. Be kind to your body. Treat it as you would a loving partner, because it is. It has no say in what you feed it or how you fuel its cells. It is a captive audience. Your cells can only work with what you give it, so give them the best nourishment you possibly can.
You just never know.
We quietly go to his room and unpack his stuff.