Sacred Space

The piece I originally wrote for today’s blog was about potential and my desire to actualize it.  But after learning my friend and co-worker’s 16 year old son is facing brain surgery it seemed unimportant. 

Here is a child on the brink of exciting possibilities now faced with a life of hearing impairment and limitations.  How do you tell a child that this milestone, negative as it is, may eventually have a positive outcome and provide opportunities for a fulfilled life?  How do you tell a child that loss of hearing can be overcome?   That if the outcome is facial paralysis that this will not make him different despite the reactions of strangers, family and friends?  How do you tell a child that this event will give him the strength to endure whatever life throws his way?  How do you tell a child that life will go on?

I know these questions are at the forefront of my friend’s mind.  I know he is in pain.  I can see it softening his features and quieting his normally robust voice.  Another friend told him not to dwell on it, to act normal.  That friend told him to treat his son as if everything is normal and, honestly I can see how those words lifted him.  How they helped him to contain the ache and regain some control.  But is that the right thing to do?

At the age of 13, my daughter, Jill, was diagnosed with malignant melanoma.  To say my heart broke does not even begin to describe the pain and helplessness, the total loss of control.  The ache was all encompassing.   I felt it in my bones, in every intake of breath, in every step, in every word, in every thought.  I moved through the days on auto-pilot, doing what needed to be done, knowing that the cure itself would cause further pain to my child.  I did what was best, knowing it was not good enough.  

What did I tell my child when she asked me why?

I told her the truth.   I told her I did not know.    Then I let her see my tears.

I told her that she was my love and my life.  That she had been from the moment of conception.  Her smile started my day and her laugh brought me joy.  I told her that I was there for her always and in all ways.   When she cried, my arms opened.  When she raged, I allowed it to wash over me.  I told her that my love for her and her brother, my children, surpassed my love for anyone or anything else in the world. I told her there was nothing they could ever do that would cause my love to end.  That everything I did was out of my love for them and that I would fight to have them with me forever.    

Jill is a successful adult, cancer free.    I am grateful for that but even more I am grateful that we shared that long ago time together, that we held sacred space for each other, allowing our emotions to flow.

I asked my friend what I could do for him.   His reply,

“Just put up with me.

 I can do that.   I can give him sacred space.



  1. Comment by Susan Kozem

    Posted on August 5, 2009 at 6:58 am

    Kathy, this is beautiful. Do you mind if I send it to my daughter?

  2. Comment by Susan Kozem

    Posted on August 5, 2009 at 6:58 am

    Kathy, this is beautiful. Do you mind if I send it to my daughter?

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