My friend was feeling fine last week.
Some persistent back ache which he had seen the doctor about over the last few months, took him to a specialist.
They examined him and sent him for an MRI.
They looked deep into the very depths of his physical being and then the world changed.
Nothing was ok anymore.
Like Shrodingers cat, the box had been opened and everything had changed.
I visited this beautiful man as he lay in his hospital bed, awaiting a spinal fusion to strengthen a spine, now wittled away by militant cells. We visualized a golden light orbiting his body healing all the places under siege. And I thought of Susan Sontag's book, 'Illness as metaphor' and resolved to change the language for myself.
This is a man who lives with passion and delight. He is funny, warm-hearted, generous and kind. It was hard to see him lying there so vulnerable and shell-shocked by the speed of it all.
On the way home I thought of many things:
I am not unfamiliar with the fragility of this life. I am a mother who knows what it is to have four children one moment, and only three in the next. I have felt the full weight of a second and its irrevocable consequances.
Mr Nielson better known as Sid, is fond of telling me that you never get a day off. And you never get a day back.
I thought of what I might do if faced with such a challange.
Would I run off and finish the Honours degree that I never completed? Open a store selling lovely trinkets and make lots of money? Write that book I'm apparently destined to create; Seek a career and climb the corporate ladder. Travel to the ends of the earth in search of adventure?
I thought of all those things on the way home to Sid and our children, and I realised that I would not give a second to any of those concerns. Concerns that sometimes trouble me when I am not in the 'now', that sometimes make me feel 'less than'.
I realised that I was doing all the things I would want to do already.
Loving my husband and my children. Caring for the people around me. The ones I know and love, and even the ones I don't.
Striving to be kinder, better, wiser, everyday.
Seeing the small, shiny beauty of this wondrous life.
And being grateful.
Madly, sweetly, happily grateful as deeply as possible, whenever I can.
Beaded installation by Lizalou.