I got to see someone ring the bell. That means their cancer treatments are over. Instead of watching the woman who celebrated this big win, I watched the three patients who sat near me. Two of them perched expectantly (as if they can’t wait for their turn). The third’s head fell as she clapped, making it obvious that she thinks she’ll never ring the bell. I studied her dimmed eyes and stretched skin. That’s when I cried right there in the treatment chair.
The nurse came back shortly after. I wiped my eyes and tried to smile brightly. The thing is that life might suck sometimes, but that’s no reason to stop trying to make it bright for other people—that’s what so many people have done for me.
“Are you okay?” the nurse asked.
“Just a blip of sadness. But the real question is, how are you? You’re working on New Year’s Eve. And you look pretty busy.”
She smiled down at me. “It’s interesting, but not many people ask how I’m doing here. It’s not a bad thing, they’re just going through so much.”
We talked for a while and she seemed a bit lighter after we’d joked and smiled. She even brought some of the laughter to the woman who’d seemed so sad when the bell rang. I was most grateful for that.
Anyway, I guess the point is that life can be terribly hard. The best I can do is fight with everything in me, trying to make life better for those around. Even if they aren’t physically sick, they’re going through their own struggles too.
I still wish I could wrap my arms around the woman who got chemo. I’d love to tell her how beautiful and strong she is. But I need to have faith that she’s on the road meant for her.