|Gore Bay, ON - Summer 2005|
Although I was sort of enjoying being at home, I did miss work. Probably more so because I was not at home by choice nor was I on vacation. One September afternoon, work snuck back into my life for a little while and it was all good. Very good in fact and quite heartwarming.
My boss at the time came over to see me at my house. She had this huge “chemo survival kit” with her that my co-workers had put together for me. It was full of all kinds of interesting stuff. There were t-shirts, a yoga mat and DVD, foot soaks and body baths, movies from Audrey Hepburn to Monty Python, jam, tea, chocolate, flowers, photo frames, a checkers game, scrapbooking stuff, magazines, and a gift card for a spa. Someone even slipped in a special “prescription” for me to light up if need be. I’m sure you know what I’m referring to people. Don’t act so shocked. You can actually get it from the doctor for medicinal purposes you know. Haha! The thought that went in to all of these things was touching. The other thing the people I work with did was to send out a call to all staff to see if anyone wanted to make a team to do the Run for the Cure that happens in October all across Canada to raise funds for breast cancer research, education and awareness.
|AFN Staff Runners - Spring 2005|
I was so thankful for all of the wonderful gifts from my co-workers. They made me smile and they made me laugh. It warms my heart to know that there are so many giving and caring people in the world. You know we go to work each and every day never knowing what the day will bring. Sometimes we may take each other for granted or maybe not treat each other with the kindness and respect that we ought to. It is very special when people can come together in the times of crisis. I resisted the urge to tear into the basket of goodies until my children came home from school so that we could do it together.
Now I suppose the next thing that happened to me that very same day is somewhat unique to most of you reading this. As I may have mentioned in earlier posts, I am of First Nations descent and at the time of the cancer diagnosis I worked at the Assembly of First Nations. The National Chief has an Elder that advises him and is also available for staff and others to talk to if need be. This Elder is a wonderful man that has been many places in the world and in very distinguished company. He came to see little old me at my house. Since he had requested to come to see me I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect.
After he arrived, he explained that before a person can be healed they must be cleansed of any negative thoughts, bad feelings, negative energy or bad spirits. This cleansing is a spiritual and physical thing. It helps the healing to happen without distraction. He took sweet grass, sage and cedar taken from our own hedge and burned them in a large shell. An eagle feather was used to fan it and then he “smudged” me with the smoke. Basically he covered my entire body from head to toe by fanning the smoke with the feather and also offering prayers. It really was a very moving experience and afterwards he presented me with an eagle feather. I kept the feather, sweet grass, cedar and the sage wrapped together by my bedside. I also had three angel figurines on my bedside table that were given to me as gifts by three different people. All of these items stayed by my bedside because I was afraid that if I moved anything I might jinx myself.
It’s not often that a First Nations Elder comes to your home to perform such a meaningful ceremony and I was very overwhelmed by it all. I was glad that Mike was at home to share this with me. It really was quite moving. This was a day to remember and one that I hold in my heart and will cherish forever.
Little did I know how often I would draw strength and comfort from the events of that day.
The Healer - John Lee Hooker & Carlos Santana