...sadness, shock, at a sequence too rapid to take in quickly enough to be prepared. A letter which time prevented from being written before Christmas, arrived on Friday. A friend, in hospital now for 7 weeks, tenaciously part of life. I wrote, and emailed our letter to her husband - short, loving, and with a little, cheerful news. Two days later, an email from another friend, had we heard that C had died - on Friday. Husband, 2 sons, her 2 sisters, all with her in a peaceful room as she slipped in and out of consciousness - adding to their conversation - and then further out, and was gone.
A long exploration of cancer. Her own speciality. What could be done, who would do it, and where - then following that through. Access to treatment with different specialists eventually meant volunteering for Trials: since she knew her cancer would be fatal, this was an active, energetic way of 'sharing' her experience in the single most helpful manner. Not talking about it to others, or relating her latest treatment, but doing it - and letting the benefit be useful to future candidates for treatment. Eventually, the treatment she needed, the specialist in London she knew could give it, meant being admitted to his hospital via A&E ...and her final 7 weeks, planning the next step until the end.
Strange the gifts of friendship we are given: this one especially. A course I ran when we arrived from Scotland, on Healing, drew people from a wide area together for 10 weeks - including C. One element repeated each week was the 'Triads' groups of three, which remained constant throughout. For each of those groups, something permanent emerged - prayer 'in absence' continued from that point; regular contact, and support. This was more remarkable in the end than the anticipated Healing and Wholeness services which people had intended to bring to their respective churches.
How much there is to miss...