The young mother who always radiant and eager to learn, sparkling with humor and the heaviest dose of naughtiness stunned me into silence with her announcement. ‘I have breast cancer. I found it out myself and without waiting for my husband had a check up. When the doctor confirmed, I felt sad’.
She said it in the most calm composed manner as I struggled to take in the truth, her small lithe frame clad in a causal skirt and top,her curly black hair grazing her shoulder and her eyes bright as ever. It was just 2 weekends back when we were all talking nonsense and laughing our heads out at her jokes. I was so taken aback that I quietly stood up to leave still unable to digest what I just heard. Almost a week later I visit her, next week the chemo will start she said. I am just worried about how my son will take it.
At the chemo the doctor is surprised by her chirpiness. An elderly couple weighed down by the same, look at her almost annoyed. ‘I can’t help being happy, chechi’, she said innocently. ‘I hate sad endings’!
As the Chemo progresses she steadily starts to lose hair. Together the husband and wife decide to buy her a smart wig. ‘It was important to sport the wig, my boy was touching my balding head with a sad look in his eyes. Why should I trouble the little one’?
She was almost unrecognizable when I saw her a few weeks later. ‘See this wig’, she laughed merrily. Her husband stood by smiling indulgently. The straight hair seemed to suit her better. She looked like a model on a ramp walk. A little weak may be but mostly happy. When you meet her it is not her disease that hits you, it is the overwhelming joy in living that she spreads.
You take home that lingering fragrance of joy and smile to yourself. Some people are like that.
A year past the disease now, she has fully recovered and is bright and smiling even more ‘I am going back to the classes to learn to help my child live his life fully and the school has been kind, they are willing to absorb me as a teacher!’
Why would the school not take her, wonderful as she is? What a positive difference the girl will continue to make to the lives of others?
This year has been about resilience, about survival, about finding hope and dreams where there were none, of finding love for self, for living. My young friend is a brilliant example of the finest human spirit. Many cheers to her long life!
Heroes are real and they are all around us, look out for them! Stay heroic!